The electric truck manufacturer that took over the shuttered Lordstown General Motors plant near Youngstown wants a change in state law to help it sell vehicles in Ohio. This could set up a clash with the state’s car dealerships.
Ohio law doesn’t allow direct sales of vehicles by manufacturers, a longstanding protection for auto dealers.
But the new Lordstown Motors wants to sell its electric light duty Endurance pickup directly to commercial and fleet customers in Ohio.
Freshman Rep. Mike Loychik (R-Bazetta) is a sponsor.
“The legislation that we propose today very specifically applies to sales of electric vehicles in Ohio headquartered EV manufacturer who builds its product in Ohio. This bill will not impact sales at any auto dealer in the state," Loychik said.
The bill would apply only to Lordstown Motors. But the Ohio Auto Dealers Association notes Honda and other vehicle makers which also work in Ohio aren’t asking for a carve out.
The law on manufacturer-owned auto sales was last changed in 2014 to allow three Tesla stores in Ohio.
Lordstown Motors took over the facility after GM closed it in 2019, following reports that it would be bought by the Cincinnati-based electric vehicle maker Workhorse. That company holds a minor share of Lordstown Motors. The company has hired around 500 workers and plans to fulfil orders starting this fall.