GM Lordstown plant celebrates 50 years in the Valley

Those who attended the tour were treated to a look at how cars are built at the Lordstown plant

Tours were offered all day at the GM Lordstown Complex for its 50th anniversary.
Tours were offered all day at the GM Lordstown Complex for its 50th anniversary.

LORDSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – People were given an inside look at the General Motors Lordstown Complex — something that most don’t see — during the celebration of the plant’s 50th anniversary on Friday.

Thousands of people gathered at the plant for the tours, lining up around the building. Workers showed them they many facets of the assembly process and how cars are built.

Many were surprised by the plant’s output.

Photos: GM Lordstown Open House

“First impression is it’s so clean and well organized. What have I learned? That quite a lot of cars are coming off the line here. It’s quite impressive,” said Diane Riefstahl, of Sharon.

The plant is 6 million square feet — about the size of 25 Walmart Supercenters. The size of the plant was the most discussed feature. The tour also shattered some myths and stereotypes that workers have heard for 50 years.

“Not sure that I’d like to do it. It’s fast, and cars come right after one another. It doesn’t seem like workers have a chance to breathe,” said Bob Kozar, of Hubbard.

Glenn Johnson, United Auto Workers Local 1112 president, said workers had the opportunity to show off what they do every day.

“They get to be rock stars. They get to be the star of the show,” he said.

After finishing the tour, Ned Grewell wanted to sit in one of the finished models and found it to his liking.

“Very quality built, very impressed and I’m a foreign car buyer normally,” he said.

For more on WKBN’s special coverage of GM Lordstown’s 50th anniversary, watch our half-hour special, Farms to Fast Lane: 50 Years of GM Lordstown.

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