Startup auto company moving into Shreveport plant

Folks gather around the
Folks gather around the "Trikke", a new three wheel vehicle that will be produced at the former General Motors assembly plant in Shreveport, La., Thursday Jan. 3, 2013. It was announced that Elio Motors, maker of the "Trikke", is going to move into the site and is expected to bring some 1500 jobs to the area. (AP Photo/The Shreveport Times, Doug Collier, Mandatory Credit )

(AP) — A startup car company called Elio Motors is moving into the former General Motors plant in Shreveport, where it plans to build three-wheeled, low-price vehicles.

The deal was announced Thursday for Elio to buy part of the plant to assemble its unusual-looking, two-seat vehicle. The company said it averages 65 miles per gallon of gas and will sell for $6,800 when commercial production begins in mid-2014.

“We can’t wait to begin our journey in Louisiana,” Elio Motors President and CEO Paul Elio said in a statement released by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s office.

The Phoenix-based company said it would hire 1,500 workers by late 2015, reviving a plant that once built pickup trucks and the commercial Hummer. Jindal’s office said the Shreveport plant would be Elio’s first manufacturing location.

State economic development officials didn’t disclose the purchase price, directing the question to a spokesman for the company who didn’t immediately respond Thursday to a request for the information.

The state is offering a package of tax breaks to Elio Motors that includes a payroll rebate of 13 percent for the first 10 years of plant operations.

The plant has been closed since late August. GM had handed it over to a trust that took over dozens of GM-owned facilities after the company declared bankruptcy.

The company has been taking reservations for the vehicle, called the Elio. First delivery is projected for mid-2014.