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Ford Announces Return of Th!nk Vehicles to Norway

Submitted by: Ford Motor Company

Categories: Philanthropy & Corporate Contributions

Posted: Sep 16, 2004 – 12:00 AM EST


Ford announced it will import up to 300 three-year-old TH!NK City battery electric vehicles from the U.S. and various European countries for exclusive resale in Norway.
The decision comes as a result of a direct appeal from the Norwegian Minister of Transport to recycle the vehicles in that country. The vehicles have been part of a three-year prototype fleet evaluation and must, by law, be removed from service at the end of their leases. They were originally scheduled for dismantling.
Ford has received a generous offer from Wallenius Wilhelmsen Shipping Line to ship the vehicles back to Europe for free. The offer helped Ford reduce the financial and technical obstacles that have until now prevented the return of these cars to the Norwegian market.

OSLO - In a joint press conference with Norwegian Minister of Transport Torill Skogsholm, Ford announced today that it would import up to 300 three-year-old Th!nk City battery electric vehicles from the U.S. and various European countries for exclusive resale in Norway. The cars will begin to arrive in Norway by the end of the year, and those that can be re-conditioned to an acceptable standard will be sold through selected Norwegian Ford dealers.

Produced by Th!nk Nordic in Aurskog, Norway, then owned by Ford Motor Company, the Th!nk City cars have been part of a three-year prototype evaluation fleet in the hands of lease customers, mainly in California, since 2001.

The cars had originally been scheduled for dismantling in the United States, due to a strict U.S. government requirement to remove these prototypes from service after their 36 month lease expired.

In response to a direct appeal by Minister Skogsholm and with the generous offer of cost-free shipping by Wallenius Wilhelmsen, the global shipping and logistics company, Ford has been able to reduce the financial and technical obstacles that have until now prevented the return of these cars to the Norwegian market.

"This small fleet of unique cars has really caught people's imagination," said Ingvar Sviggum, vice president of sales at Ford of Europe. "We're delighted that with the help of Minister Skogsholm, Wallenius Wilhelmsen, and dozens of Ford employees worldwide who have enthusiastically thrown themselves into this project, we've found a financially viable way to offer these special cars in Norway while maintaining our top priority on product quality and customer satisfaction," he said.

Nils P. Dyvik, Chief Executive Officer, Wallenius Wilhelmsen, said: "We are engaged in a number of environmental initiatives to work towards a cleaner transport landscape for tomorrow. Ford is a much valued major global customer of ours and we are delighted to work in partnership with Ford to work towards that goal."

Upon delivery by Wallenius Wilhelmsen to Norway, the cars' battery electric power plant and safety gear will be thoroughly inspected by Ford engineers from the Aachen Research Center in Aachen, Germany. Cars that are deemed acceptable for resale will be re-conditioned, to include replacing the charge port to meet the European electric current structure and replacing the onboard instrument cluster.

Final pricing of the cars will depend on the level of rework required to make the cars acceptable for re-sale.

"Customers should be aware that these are used cars, and there is still much we do not know about how these cars and their unique power trains will hold up. However, the interest in these unique cars in Norway is so high that we're committed to doing everything we can to make this program work," said Mr. Sviggum.

In the late 1990s, Ford was the only major automotive company to invest in a unique brand - Th!nk - dedicated to the research, development, production and sale of zero-emission battery electric vehicles. With the support of the Norwegian government, Ford established a Th!nk production facility in Aurskog, where the first generation Th!nk City vehicles were produced.

However, the limited range, performance and payload of the cars restricted their appeal in the mass market, and in 2002 Ford elected to focus its energy and investment on more promising long-term technologies for reducing - and eventually eliminating - vehicle emissions, including hybrids, alternative fuels, hydrogen based internal combustion engines and fuel cells. Ford sold Th!nk Nordic to KamKorp in January 2003.

For more information, please contact:

Cheryl Eberwein Ford Motor Company
Phone: 1+313-322-3948
Carolyn Brown Ford Motor Company
Phone: 1+313-337-5518

For more from this organization:

Ford Motor Company


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