Brakes put on new production line at old GM plant

Land Rover turned down as new owners of old GM plant
Published: Jun. 16, 2015 at 11:08 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 13, 2015 at 5:20 AM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - More controversy surrounding the old General Motor's plant in Shreveport has surfaced.

KSLA News 12 has learned from well-placed sources that popular SUV automaker, Land Rover, made an offer to start a production line in Shreveport back in 2014, but was turned down meaning the loss of thousands of potential jobs.

A deal was reached with Elio Motors back in 2013 to build an experimental 3-wheeled vehicle. The deal promised thousands of jobs but has yet to get off the ground and the Caddo Parish Commission says its hands are tied.

A $7.5 million agreement signed between the parish and the current GM plant lease holder means parish leaders don't decide who or what is brought to the building. Now, some are calling for changes to the original agreement.

"There were efforts to secure that facility that would have been used for manufacturing a line of Land Rovers," said former Shreveport mayor Cedric Glover.

According to Glover, Land Rover had its eyes on the plant in mid-2014. The offer would have included thousands of local jobs and millions to the city's economy, but the automaker never got the chance.

Glover says Land Rover was shot down by Industrial Realty Group President, Stu Lichter, who leases the building. We aren't being told exactly why but we're told Lichter has the power to decide what goes in the plant as part of a contract approved by the Caddo Parish Commission.

"So you can go out and be successful with an experimental vehicle that were all excited about if it goes forward, but it's not Land Rover, it's not an established company with $10 billion a year in sales that doesn't represent the way you go about looking out for the best interest of Shreveport, Caddo Parish and Northwest Louisiana," said Glover.

Before Land Rover, Glover says another company also made an offer.

Instead, the city put its support behind Elio Motors, the "experimental vehicle" that has yet to be produced.

"You're talking 6,000 combined jobs," said Glover.

We reached out to Stu Lichter and his team but our calls have not been returned.

We also reached out to Land Rover and according to a spokesperson, Land Rover is no longer considering production operations in the U.S.

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