|Ford's newest brand will develop and market a line
of zero-emission battery electric vehicles. In addition, its new San Diego area
headquarters will include engineering and research on fuel cell-powered and other advanced
technology vehicles. TH!NK Group senior executives made the announcement at the 6th Annual
Clean Cities Conference in San Diego.
"Ford Motor Company started a trend among
domestic automakers 20 years ago with the opening of a design studio in Irvine," said
John Wallace, executive director of TH!NK Group. "Since then, Ford has continued to
expand its presence in California as well as its commitment to the state. Now, TH!NK will
join the trend by locating its headquarters in southern California," he added.
In 1998, Lincoln Mercury headquarters moved to Irvine, California. Then in February of
this year, Ford Motor Company announced the establishment of a North American headquarters
for its Premier Automotive Group (PAG) in the same location. In addition to Lincoln
Mercury, PAG includes Volvo, Jaguar and Aston-Martin. Mazda headquarters are also located
TH!NK Group is already being welcomed to the area by various groups and organizations
including the Air Resources Board. "The Air Resources Board is excited and pleased
with Ford Motor Company's decision to locate their TH!NK headquarters in southern
California. California is the home of the electric vehicle movement and it is appropriate
that a world leader in automotive innovation such as Ford have their advanced vehicle
facilities located here," said Dr. Alan Lloyd, Air Resources Board chairman.
TH!NK vehicles: environmentally responsible, innovative fun
TH!NK Group, introduced in January at the Detroit International Auto Show, is an
organization dedicated to providing innovative and environmentally responsible personal
mobility to consumers. The electric-powered TH!NK city is currently sold in Norway, with a
special U.S. demonstration project currently in the works at the Presidio in San
Francisco. TH!NK bike fun and TH!NK bike traveler are also electric powered and go on sale
in the U.S. this summer. TH!NK neighbor, an electric two or four seat low speed personal
mobility vehicle, will be available in the U.S. by the end of this year. "We are
bringing a full line of electric-powered vehicles to market, which has never been done
before," says Wallace. "We are also developing an innovative order and delivery
system with the help of the Internet. This is breakthrough innovation for our
TH!NK Group is comprised of two entities: TH!NK Mobility is a limited liability
corporation devoted to producing and marketing a full line of battery electric vehicles.
TH!NK Technologies is the research and development arm of the group, concentrating on fuel
cell and other advanced electric transportation drive systems for Ford Motor Company
Southern California location fits the TH!NK "lifestyle"
TH!NK's California location will offer the group a chance to attract new talent and
take advantage of Ford development facilities already existing in the area. By locating in
California, TH!NK employees can be closer to their customers and gain a better
understanding of their transportation needs and expectations. It will also bring TH!NK
closer to alliance partners like the California Fuel Cell Partnership, the first
collaboration between automobile, technology and energy companies to develop and
demonstrate fuel cell vehicles under "real world" conditions.
Wallace adds that, aside from business advantages, the region simply offers a nice
place to live. "I've spent many years in this state and believe the lifestyle here is
supportive of the TH!NK brand and our approach to serving our customers."
(May 8, 2000)