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News of  May 09, 2000


TH!NK, Ford's Newest Brand, Moves to Southern California

California to be New Home of Ford's Electric Vehicle Business
SAN DIEGO - TH!NK Group, Ford Motor Company's electric vehicle enterprise, announced the relocation of its headquarters from the corporate campus in Dearborn, Michigan to southern California.




Th!nk Electric City Car

Photo: Ford

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 in Irvine.

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 customers."

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 vehicles.

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)


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