Electric car maker in 'urgent financial distress'
Th!nk goes cap in hand to govt
'Leccy Tech Anyone who fancied getting hold of a Th!nk Ox may need to think again. The Norwegian 'leccy car maker is suffering from what it calls "urgent financial distress" and is holding out the begging bowl to the Norwegian government.
Th!nk CEO Richard Canny wants between NKr100m and NKr200m ($14.5–29m / £9.5-19m / €10.6-21.2m) to keep the company going, Reuters reports.
Th!nk's Ox: will it be rescued?
In the short term, Th!nk will lay off between half and 70 per cent of its 250-strong workforce, and stop all production. The plan is to re-start production early in 2009.
The aid being sought pales when compared to the SKr25bn Swedish crowns ($3.2bn / £2.1bn / €2.3bn) in credit guarantees and emergency loans the Swedish government has said it will extend to Saab and Volvo. But then again, Th!nk isn't Saab or Volvo.
One Norwegian news source is, however, already reporting that the boys in Oslo have said “nei”.
Back in October, Th!nk rolled up at No. 10 Downing Street to get in on the PR buzz, such as it was, surrounding the British Government's £100m leccy car promotion activities, such as they were. So is this the Curse of Broon - or the curse of building small, plastic leccy not-quite-cars that nobody wants and have questionable crash resistance?
Of course, all this is nothing new. Th!nk has gone tits up twice before, most recently in 2006. But back then the global economy wasn't teetering on the brink of meltdown, so rescue may be a taller order this time around.
Jeez, if nobody want their shitty cars, they should go bust. It's that simple. Why is this hard to understand?
Two out of three
Anyhow, Matthew correctly used both "they're" and "their", in the same sentence no less. I've seen a lot worse on these boards...
I sometimes wonder if this isn't the old car industry kicking back with a little FUD. They did the same when the first plastic bodyparts appeared in cars, claiming that plastic would burn too easily and make a plastic car a deathtrap. In the meantime, the Th!nk is probably safer than a motorcycle, and probably better than some of the pre-NCAP cars still trundling round on UK roads. If you think that's innaccurate, consider that I - like many others - used to drive original Minis (including one that had a plastic nose and everything in front of the engine cut back to lighten it, so effectively lethal in a head-on collission). I still see plenty of old Minis, Mk1 Fiestas and the like around, and they're probably no better in a crash.
And then I have read that despite the rise of safety features in cars the accident rates have not gone down, in fact they seem to have led to a belief that car crashes are now survivable with little more than a bruise, leading to even more poor driving behaviour. I wonder if so many people would tailgate if they were in a car without features like crumple zones, and knew a crash was likely to lose them their legs? Maybe that's how we should deal with speeders - have them sentenced to a Th!nk for a year or two!
Personally, I think everyone that wants to drive in Britain should be made to learn in an old Mini in London - if you can survive that then you're probably fit to drive anywhere!