MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- A Chinese-American automaking venture is committing almost $800 million on two European suppliers to develop a complete new range of hybrid vehicles.
On January 19, HK Motors of Pasadena, California, signed a 375 million euro ($538 million) contract here with Italdesign Giugiaro S.p.A. of Turin, Italy, for the design, engineering and homologation of its new range of models.
Italdesign, which spend more than two years negotiating its technical agreement with HK Motors, is responsible for getting the plant ready to start production.
“We are responsible for creating the products and identifying the parts suppliers that could make the entire project happen,” said Italdesign CEO Enzo Pacella. The Italian company has played that role before. Along with engineering the second-generation Mini lineup for BMW AG, Italdesign selected suppliers for those vehicles.
Last year, FEV Motorentechnick GmbH, of Aachen, Germany, started engineering work on a hybrid powertrain for HK Motors. The $250 million contract with FEV calls for the complete development of a powertrain based on a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine that runs on either CNG or gasoline.
HK Motors also is negotiating with paint shop and body shop suppliers for its first plant, set to open in 2013 in Bay Minette, Alabama. Most of these suppliers are reported to be European, too.