Case | HBS Case Collection | February 2010 (Revised October 2010)

Re-THINK-ing THINK: The Electric Car Company

by Joseph B. Lassiter III and David Kiron

Abstract

On January 5, 2010, 48-year-old Richard Canny was on his way to meet the governor of Indiana. He was reading his newly issued press release announcing that THINK planned to start automobile production in Elkhart County, Indiana to launch its THINK City battery-operated electric vehicle (EV) in the North American market. The announcement boldly outlined plans to invest $43.5 million in a factory that could begin assembling vehicles in early 2011 and that was sized for a manufacturing capacity of more than 20,000 vehicles per year. A proven automotive industry executive, but a first-time entrepreneur, Canny was CEO of Think Global AS (THINK), a privately held Norwegian maker of battery-operated EVs that are rechargeable through residential electrical power outlets. With this announcement, Canny was committing the company to support the broad North American launch of its line of EVs, among the very first commercially available, highway-approved safe cars in the world that produced zero greenhouse gas tailpipe emissions.

Keywords: Business Startups; Entrepreneurship; Investment; Global Strategy; Market Entry and Exit; Product Development; Production; Pollution and Pollutants; Environmental Sustainability; Auto Industry; Manufacturing Industry; Norway; Indiana;

Citation:

Lassiter, Joseph B., III, and David Kiron. "Re-THINK-ing THINK: The Electric Car Company." Harvard Business School Case 810-105, February 2010. (Revised October 2010.)