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Ford Pulling Plug on TH!NK Electric Car

September 3, 2002

Ford Motor Co. on Aug. 30 said it was discontinuing its TH!NK electric vehicle division due to poor customer demand and lack of government support for the environmentally-friendly cars. According to the company, Ford paid $23 million in 1999 for the Norway-based electric vehicle company Pivco Industries, renaming it Think or TH!NK, and has since invested $100 million in the technology to meet environmental regulations on fuel economy and emissions. Ford will try to sell TH!NK, or work with the Norwegian government to transform the company to create a viable business, Holmes said. Ford hopes to make a decision by the end of September on the future of TH!NK, which has two facilities outside Oslo and employs about 150 people. The TH!NK City, a two-seater, plastic-bodied hatchback sold in Europe, has a range of about 53 miles in city driving and requires up to six hours for a recharge. Ford shares closed up 14 cents, or 1.20 percent, to $11.77 in trade on the New York Stock Exchange. The world's second-largest auto-maker is in the midst of a turnaround plan after a $5.45 billion loss last year that includes plant closings to cut costs. Ford said it will focus on fuel cell and hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles to meet environmental regulations for cars and trucks. Ford plans to sell its first hybrid, a version of the Ford Escape small sport utility vehicle, next year.
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