A Colorado businessman says South Bend has moved up on his list of possible factory sites now that the right-to-work bill has passed.
This is an update to a story we brought you last week about the new Studebaker Motor company, a start-up automaker in Colorado.
Ric W. Reed is the president of the company. he says passing the new legislation make South Bend more desirable.
"I don't need a labor union babysitting me, telling me what to do and not do."
Reed is in the process of getting funding and meeting with investors in hopes of getting Studebaker back on the road, and possibly starting production back in South Bend.
The Studebaker Motor Company website highlights Reed's vision to bring back Studebaker's unique designs and concepts to the automotive industry. He says it's not only South Bend's historic connection to Studebaker, but the area's infrastructure, location and need for jobs that interests him.
"I feel we're going to pay wages that our higher than what you're getting in your community...you have a higher unemployment and people are eager to work."
Reed is planning a visit here this spring or early summer in hopes of meeting with South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and getting to know residents who could someday be potential employees. But actual vehicle assembly could be years off. Reed says if funding comes through it would be next summer before a prototype car would be complete, then it takes around three years to get through government safety testing and meet EPA standards before actual production could begin.
After our original story, many people contacted WSBT wondering how Reed got the rights to the Studebaker name. He says because Studebaker manufacturing went under, the name essentially died and became public domain. In 2001, a Texas businessman, Tom Raines, filed all the proper papers with government agencies and the Transportation Department to get the copyright to Studebaker Motor Company. Reed became his partner and then bought him out of the company in 2008.