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Think in talks over City distribution network

Norwegian electric car manufacturer Think is launching a right-hand drive version of its plastic bodied City minicar this year.

And it claims to be in talks with UK dealers about establishing a distribution network. The move marks a change of plans for the carmaker.

Last December, chief operating officer Richard Blundell told AM that the company would not be looking to appoint a franchised dealer network.

But Think UK marketing manager Don Cochrane claimed the car was generating strong interest from dealers ahead of the planned launch in London next autumn.

“We are looking at the most efficient distribution platform for each market and have been talking to dealers with this in mind,” he said. “We have been extremely pleased by the enthusiastic and positive level of interest that Think has so far received from UK dealers.”

Launched in 1999, the brand was bought by Ford, which redesigned the original vehicle to meet crash standards. Ford had planned to sell Think through its biggest UK dealerships, but the strategy was ditched in 2002 as part of large financial cutbacks. The brand was then sold back to its original owners.

The company recently signed a contract with Porsche Consulting, aimed at sharing advice on lean manufacturing processes and improving quality at the production plant in Norway. Pricing and predicted sales have yet to be announced, but Cochrane said the plant is capable of producing around 7,000 cars each year.

A wider range of electric vehicles is expected to follow the release of the City.

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