We learned earlier today that Norwegian electric automaker Th!nk had requested a handout from the Norwegian government. We've now heard that the government is not likely to give the EV maker any money. According to a translation of a piece in the Norwegian news source Dagbladet by AutoblogGreen reader Leif E., the government will not step in, saying that helping one company but not others was not sound policy. Th!nk's claim that it needs $15-30 million in government-backed funds within weeks to avoid bankruptcy was apparently not enough of a reason for the government to step in and it looks like at least half of Th!nk's 250 employees will be laid off in January. Think CEO Richard Canny said his company was "in a dire situation."

So, what happens to the Th!nk City cars? The 100-150 that have been started will be finished, but Canny didn't guarantee that everybody who ordered one will eventually get it. More than ever before, Th!nk's plan to sell the electric cars to the most EV-friendly cities in Europe looks to be in doubt. And the Ox?

One of the other EV manufacturers mentioned in the piece is Buddy. Many thanks to ABG reader Leif E. for the help!

UPDATE: Will wealthy investors save Th!nk?


[Source: Dagbladet]

Translation courtesy of Leif E (edited for grammar):

The Government is not stepping in to help ThInk - Could mean deathstroke for the electric car

The government will not intervene directly to save the EV producer that is fighting yet another prospect of bankruptcy. Between 125 & 175 employees will be laid off after New Years. The company is low on cash and on Monday asked for a government-backed guarantee on a 15-30 million dollar loan. "There are many corporations that are troubled in today's financial crisis. The government can buy itself in or give loans to single corporations," said State secretary in the Business department Rikke Lind.

The Think employees have been given a warning for layoffs and Think confirms that 50-70% of the total of 250 workers will be laid off from the middle of January. "We are in a dire situation" the CEO of Think, Richard Canny said after a board meeting Monday afternoon.

Canny said that capital has been very hard to come by for the expansion of Think in the current climate and that he had hoped the government would take measures. The State secretary encouraged Think to apply for funds through the Innovation Norway channels that are government-backed and said that the government will have something for the overall crisis in the beginning of the next year. But this is probably not fast enough for Think.

"We need capital within 3-4 weeks" Canny said. To that Rikke Lind replied: "It is the owners and the management that have to take the responsibility for the situation the enterprise is in. The government can't go in to a single business. That is not correct business policy"

She also pointed to the fact that there are 2 other EV producers in Norway and that that complicates action from the government. Lind was in contact with the management of Think last week but there had been no contact this weekend.

The Think City´s that have been started on will be finished. That means 100-150 cars. But Canny can't guarantee that everybody who ordered one will get it. Think went bankrupt for the second time in 2006. Canny didn't want to get specific on how near the company is to bankruptcy now, with the exception that the situation for the company is "critical"

He says that it has to be producing 5,000-7,000 cars a year before Think will have a balanced budget. Today, they are making 8-10 cars a day and the annual capacity is 5000 cars. The Australian Canny, who has 25 years behind him at Ford, overtook the CEO post in October. He still has good faith in the electric car.

"This is the future for the car industry," he said. Canny also added that he has been contacted by representatives from different countries and their governments expressing their concerns for what is happening to the EV producer.

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