Think detailed its expansion schedule for us a few months ago (first more availability in Europe, then in the U.S., etc.) and the Switzerland portion of the plan is, indeed, moving right along. The Norwegian automaker has signed a deal with Swiss retailer Migros (supermarkets and more) to establish something called M-Way, which is, "a new energy and mobility solutions platform, for the sale and the distribution of THINK City electric vehicles in Switzerland." Basically, Migros will be the
Think CEO Richard Canny is certainly excited about the deal, calling it, "the most exciting retail agreement Think has ever done." Well, that's a vote of confidence. We've written about Migros exactly once before, when the company announced a program to recycle old CDs and DVDs into things like motorcycle helmets.
Think Announces Innovative Auto Retailing Deal with Leading Swiss Retailer Migros
o THINK'S pioneering spirit goes beyond EV product leadership with an innovative new retail agreement to be signed with Migros
o Migros is the largest retailer in Switzerland, with over 600 outlets across the country
o Migros Group establishes M-Way, a new energy and mobility solutions platform, for the sale and the distribution of THINK City electric vehicles in Switzerland
o First fleet sales agreement already signed
OSLO, Norway -- June, 16, 2010 – THINK, the Scandinavian electric vehicle maker, has completed its latest innovative EV distribution partnership deal with the Swiss retailer Migros.
Migros is the largest retailer and biggest private employer in Switzerland, with over 600 outlets across the country whose retail mantra is to take the product to the people – making the group a perfect retail partner for THINK.
THINK CEO, Richard Canny, says: "This is the most exciting retail agreement THINK has ever done. Migros is a very important partner for us; already it is showing its selling prowess in the home market with sizeable new fleet deals immediately starting to come through."
He continued: "In the EV industry, volume is growing quickly right now, and with partners such as Migros on board, THINK will start to reach the volumes required to take us beyond the tipping point and into mainstream, competitively priced car retailing."
The first fleet sale of EVs in Switzerland has just been completed by Migros, with Alpmobil – the Swiss eco-tourism group – who will operate an initial fleet of 60 THINK City EVs for holiday guests at Alpmobil's latest project in Haslital and Goms in the Swiss Alps.
Daniel Hofer, CEO of Migrol and project head of M-Way, said: "With M-Way we are able to promote the development of a more flexible and ecologically responsible mobility. We wish to make electric-powered mobility simple, accessible, and affordable – through multi-location retailing and the range of new supporting services planned by M-Way. We will start with the THINK City – the first ever pure EV with European regulatory approval."
Herbert Bolliger, President of the Federation of Migros Cooperatives, added: "Ultimately we want to continue to grow Migros' famously sustainable business ethos. We have the key central retail locations all over Switzerland and beyond, now we want to use these bases to spread the news and sales of electric vehicles such as the THINK City."
The latest generation THINK City is a purpose-built, all-electric car designed for urban environments. It can travel at highway speeds and cover 160 kilometers on a single charge (via any conventional household outlet), with zero local emissions. It is the world's first EV to be granted certification with the European CE conformity mark and EU homologation requirements (M1 certificate). To achieve these exacting standards, the THINK City has successfully completed very thorough testing and validation procedures.
European production of the THINK City is underway in Finland with manufacturing partner Valmet Automotive, which also assembles the Boxster and Cayman models for Porsche AG. First customer deliveries are taking place across Europe in selected key EV markets such as The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Austria and now Switzerland.
THINK also recently announced plans to establish a U.S. production facility during 2011 in Elkhart County, Indiana, and is working with Japanese partner Itochu on developing operations in Asia.
THINK is a pioneer in electric vehicles and a leader in electric vehicle technology, developed and proven over 19 years. It is one of the few companies that has a 'ready-to-market' fully electric vehicle – the THINK City. With its market-leading range, driveability and recyclability, the THINK City is the first vehicle of its type to be granted pan-European regulatory safety approval and CE certification.
THINK is also a leader in electric drive-system technology, and was the first to offer a modular and flexible EV drive-train solution in the business-to-business sector. With its Scandinavian origins and sustainability mindset, THINK is one of the most carbon efficient car companies in the world.
Migros is Switzerland's biggest retailer. With its more than 84,000 employees coming from over 140 countries, Migros is also the biggest private employer in the country, realizing a turnover of 25 billion Swiss francs (approx. 17.5 billion euros) in 2009. The majority of goods sold by Migros are produced by Migros industries in Switzerland.
Migros is a federation of ten regional cooperatives with over 2 million members; various public companies as well as a series of foundations also form part of the Migros Group. Besides the traditional areas of Grocery Retailing and Specialized Goods Retailing, the Retailing Department (with the Swiss discounter Denner, the Globus department stores, etc.), the Travel section (with Hotelplan, Interhome, etc.), and the area of Financial Services (Migros Bank) also represent important areas of business for the Group.
Migros was founded in 1925, by Gottlieb Duttweiler. Commercial activity is characterized by sustainable value generation. Ever since its inception, high ethical standards and lasting corporate social responsibility have played and continue to play a significant role for the Group. Every year, a fixed percentage (> 100 million CHF/year, approx. 70 million EUR/year) of the turnover of the Migros cooperatives is donated to cultural and social activities. Hence, Migros is the most important private promoter of cultural events in Switzerland. About 50% of the donated amount, termed "Culture Percentage", is contributed to the Migros Club Schools, the biggest training and tertiary learning institution of the country.