Fleet News

Ford creates new brand for eco-friendly vehicles

AN independent brand to develop and sell a wide range of environmentally-friendly vehicles has been set up by Ford. Based on the innovative Norwegian Th!nk city car producer acquired by the US firm 12 months ago, the brand will begin marketing battery-powered cars and bicycles later this year.

By 2003, its portfolio will also embrace Ford's entry in the fuel-cell vehicle sector, it was revealed at the North American International Auto Show. 'Th!nk is the world's first environmental mobility brand and it involves far more than the city car we started building in November. This enterprise is dedicated to producing a full range of solutions for personal mobility of the future,' said president and chief executive officer Jac Nasser.

Eventually, Th!nk will become a global operation and some of its vehicles will be available via the internet - complete with direct-to-the-door delivery - as well as from retail outlets which will include Ford electric vehicle dealers. But servicing facilities will be restricted to the car firm's traditional network.

Though Ford officials declined to comment on prices, it is understood the fixed-frame Th!nk cycles will cost about $1,000 and the folding frame model $1,200 when they become available in June. From late this year, a golf-cart-style community car called Neighbour will be offered at $6,000 - considerably less than the $25,000 cost of the acclaimed Th!nk City runabout, now being modified to meet US safety requirements. It should be available to other export markets in two years' time.

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