It’s been an up and down ride for the electric car maker, THINK North America, which has manufacturing operations in Elkhart, Ind.
WSBT, South Bend, reported that just last month THINK’s parent company filed for bankruptcy. Now, there is renewed hope for the company and its factory in Elkhart as a new owner has emerged.
According to a press release, THINK Global AS has been purchased by a prominent international technology entrepreneur who is committed to maintaining the company’s key role in the manufacture of electric vehicles.
A court-appointed trustee selected Boris G. Zingarevich, whose investment operations are based in St. Petersburg, Russia, as the winning bidder following a bankruptcy proceeding initiated by the Norwegian carmaker last month.
In addition, Zingarevich signed a memorandum of understanding with American advanced lithium-ion battery maker Ener1 Inc. and Finnish automobile engineering and manufacturing concern Valmet Automotive Inc. to cooperate in relaunching THINK.
It’s been a year and a half since Governor Mitch Daniels made his trip to Elkhart to announce the start of the electric car factory that many thought was the answer for the manufacturing community hit hard by the recession.
But almost as quick as THINK took over the old Philips Products factory in Elkhart, it’s parent company Think Global filed for bankruptcy.
“It’s been somewhat of a disappointment getting it going,” said Elkhart Mayor Dick Moore.
Moore says at its peak, THINK NA only employed 25 people. Now, it’s much less. There are currently 11 people working at the factory, a far cry from the 415 jobs promised by 2013. But with new owners comes new hope.
Moore says he’s been assured by a THINK spokesperson that the company’s new owners want to build cars in Europe and North America.
“They do have an interest in producing cars here in the United States as well,” Moore said, “And producing cars in the United States means producing cars in Elkhart.”