Norway's TH!NK Is Thinking Bankruptcy or State Bailout

TH!NK never had time to release its follow up model, the TH!NK Ox. Video courtesy TH!NK.

Last week, electric car manufacturer TH!NK asked the Norwegian government for $40 million U.S. dollars in lines of credit to continue operations. The company didn't get it, and halted production and laid off 200 (of 250) workers until January in hopes of finding alternative financing. This week the company is negotiating with the government over bankruptcy proceedings.

TH!NK has already gone bankrupt twice and risen like a phoenix from the flames. In addition, the government is putting together a rescue package for Norwegian industries, but it isn't scheduled to be ready for at least a month...which TH!NK says is too late. The global credit crunch combined with parts suppliers demanding upfront payments put the company at the brink, it said. Debt has more than trebled in the last year. So what is likely to happen now?

TH!NK had hoped to re-open its manufacturing line in January. It was building a few cars each day (it takes 17 hours to assemble a single car) has the parts for 300 vehicles on hand, and said that it believes it can secure new financing. The company also claims to have orders for 1,000 cars on the books. The Norwegian's lead bankruptcy lawyer believes a new round of financing or line of credit won't be possible until the end of January. TH!NK said that's too slow.

TH!NK's problems are starting to send shock waves further south. Denmark says that if TH!NK sinks the electric car industry will be set back a couple of years (Denmark was the original designer of the TH!NK concept). Meanwhile, the alternative energy lobbying group ZERO has suggested that the government should begin public purchasing of electric cars, from TH!NK and the other electric car manufacturers. ZERO believes the Norwegian government should guarantee purchase of about 2,000 cars - approximately 5 for each of Norway's municipalities - in order to more quickly mature the market. Another environmental organization, Bellona, has argued that Norway is not quick enough to support environment-friendly companies like TH!NK. Via: NRK
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