Saturday 28 May 2022

Electric car firm Canoo drops plans to manufacture vehicles in Born

The Canoo minibus won’t be built in Born. Photo: Canoo handout

American electric car maker Canoo has pulled out of plans to build vehicles at the VDL Nedcar plant in Born, Limburg.

Canoo chief executive Tony Aquila said in a statement on Wednesday that the company would rather invest in ‘creating American jobs and innovation’.

‘We appreciate the months of effort VDL Nedcar invested to provide us with a contract manufacturing option, but we have concluded that building in America is better aligned with our mission and current focus to invest in the communities and states that are investing in hi-tech manufacturing alongside us,’ the statement said.

VDL has now returned the €25m pre-payment Canoo made and has also invested €7.5m in Canoo stock as part of what both companies call a continuing relationship. ‘We see electric vehicles as a significant economic driver,’ said VDL president Willem van der Leegte.

A month ago Aquila hinted at a rethink, saying there were disadvantages to manufacturing in the Netherlands. The hack at VDL Nedcar earlier this year may also have played a part in the decision, broadcaster NOS said.

Nedcar is the only car factory of any size in the Netherlands. It started life in 1967 when DAF started to produce cars there. The Limburg base was chosen to provide work for the miners who found themselves out of a job when the coal mines were closed.

In 1975 it was taken over by Volvo, which was joined by Mitsubishi in 1991. The latter eventually bought the factory but in 2012 it was sold to Dutch entrepreneur Wim van der Leegte. The factory currently employs some 4,000 people.

The plant currently builds Minis and BMWs but that contract is winding down.

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