Monday, July 30, 2007

Ford Spends $150,000,000 Developing US Standard Electric Car - Car Division Later Purchased For 10 Cents on the Dollar by New Rival.

Doesn't $150 Million look like a lot of money when written out as $150,000,000? But you can't blame Ford, gas was cheap between 1999 and 2006, who could possibly have known it would go up and there might really be a market for electric cars? Someone eventually bought their well developed product for 15 million, just 10% of what Ford put into it. The new company will compete with Ford in the near future. What a waste.

Quotes from the CNN money article are below along with a link to the original article. The comedy writes itself today:

With its eye on the California market, Ford pumped $150 million into the company to design a next-generation City that met European and U.S. safety standards. But when it looked like the automakers were going to kill the California regulation, Ford promptly sold Think to a Swiss electronics company.

By 2006, Think was in bankruptcy. Willums, meanwhile, was about to leave his firm for private foundation work, having made a mint from his investment in REC, an $8 billion Norwegian solar energy company. But the little electric car manufacturer caught his eye.

"So I called the two other key investors in REC about buying Think," says Willums, 60. "We didn't know anything about the car business. But we knew how to build successful businesses."
Willums picked up Think, its factory, and Ford's nearly completed design for a new-model City for the fire-sale price of about $15 million. That freed him to think about how to create a 21st-century car company. Much had changed since Ford sold Think: Global warming was dominating the headlines, the Iraq war had Americans on edge about energy security, and governments were beginning to provide generous tax breaks for electric cars.

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