Struggling to recharge its business after a brush with bankruptcy, the Scandinavian battery car maker, THINK, has resumed production of its little electric two-seater at a new assembly plant in Finland.
The 18-year-old company has struggled for most of its existence. But company officials – and THINK’s new investors – are betting that the growing demand for high-mileage and alternative fuel vehicles will help turn the company’s fortunes around.
In the near-term, the City will be the key to a turnaround. There are currently “around 2,300” backorders for the subcompact battery-electric vehicle, THINK reports, the “majority” going to various European municipal governments and utility partners.
Catching up on that backlog will be the responsibility of THINK’s new lead shareholder, Valmet Automotive, best known for running a specialty automotive assembly complex in the tongue-twisting Finish town of Uusikaupunki. That facility assembles both the Boxster and Cayman, for Porsche, and will next year launch production of the Fisker plug-in hybrid, the Karma.
A separate line today began rolling out the City, with key customers to begin taking delivery before Christmas,says Richard Canny, the maker’s CEO. “our first priority is to deliver to these customers now that our vehicles are rolling off the production line again. Our next priority is to build on this order book with continued expansion in Europe and around the world.”
That comment reflects THINK’s long-standing goal of returning to the U.S. market. In a conversation with TheDetroitBureau.com, earlier this year, Canny noted his hopes of modifying the current City model to meet American expectations. Among other things, that will require increasing the little vehicle’s range from around 112 miles to 15, and boosting top speed from 62 miles per hour to 75 mph.
(Click Here for a review of the THINK City battery car.)