MUNICH -- Production of Think's electric minicar will resume in December and the Norwegian firm hopes to have 4,600 units of the two-seat City built in 2010, sales director Richard Waitz said in an e-mail reply to questions.
The cars will be made by Finnish contract manufacturer Valmet Automotive, which formed an alliance with Think in August. Valmet is one of the investors that helped the company raise $47 million in capital this summer to exit court protection in Norway. Valmet currently makes the Porsche Cayman and Boxster at its plant in Uusikaupunki.
"Over the last 12 to 18 months, we have accumulated 2,300 orders, all to be built at Valmet when production commences," Waitz added.
He said that most of those units -- about 1,800 -- are for government-funded fleet contracts with cities in Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Spain. About 500 of the orders are for Norway. Most of those units will go to private customers, Waitz said.
Norway production stops
Think stopped production at its plant in Aurskog, near Oslo, in the second quarter. The plant produced 350 units of the City between summer 2008 and its shut down. The carmaker had aimed to build 7,000 to 10,000 units a year at the plant by 2009.
About 85 workers have been affected by the end of production in Norway, which will remain Think's headquarters and home to the company's research and design center.
U.S. company Ener1 Inc. is Think's largest investor with a 31 percent stake. Its subsidiary EnerDel will supplier Think with lithium-ion batteries. Swiss company MES DEA supplies the City's alternative nickel-sodium batteries.
Ener1 CEO Charles Gassenheimer was one of six executives named to Think's new board of directors this week.
The board's other members are Chairman Reidar Langmo, a founder of solar power company Renewable Energy Corp.; Ken Baker, a former General Motors Co. vice president; Steinar Fossen, representing Norway's Investinor AS venture capital fund; Ulrich Thum, a Valmet board member and former Fiat S.p.A. executive; and William E. James, founder and managing partner of Rockport Capital Partners.
Think's day-to-day operations will continue to be led by CEO Richard Canny, who joined the company in 2008 after spending 25 years with Ford Motor Co.
Since 1991, Think has had four owners, including Ford Motor Co., from mid-1999 until January 2003. Twice, the company in charge of the carmaker has gone bankrupt.