Think Taps Former GM-Turnaround Advisor for Operations

By Michelle Krebs January 6, 2011

By Danny KingThink William Nowicke -256.JPG

Think tapped William Nowicke, a former executive with both Chrysler and General Motors turnaround advisory firm AlixPartners, to help run operations for the Norway-based electric vehicle maker as it builds out its U.S. and European operations and sets up its retail network.

Nowicke, whose title will be vice president of operations, will help the company expand production in both the U.S. and Europe while working with Think partner Itochu at building out Japan operations. He will split time between the U.S. and Think's Oslo headquarters.

Nowicke previously worked with AlixPartners, a Michigan-based consulting firm specializing in turnarounds for companies in the auto and aerospace industries. Specifically, AlixPartners advised General Motors on its restructuring effort after the automaker's 2009 bankruptcy, including its shedding of unpopular brands and sale of some assets.

"William joins us at a time of great operational growth at Think," said company CEO Barry Engle in a statement Wednesday. "His experience in global automotive operations and development will prove invaluable in these very busy and exciting times."

Think in November began operating its new assembly plant in Elkhart, Ind., to prepare 300 of its two-seat Think City cars for both a surge of fleet sales as the year ended and broader sales for 2011, and estimated that the company will make as many as 2,500 EVs in the U.S. this year.

Think has already sold more than 2,500 of the fun-to-drive cars in numerous European countries, including Spain, France, Austria, Switzerland, Finland and the Netherlands. All of those vehicles were produced in Finland.

Last month, the company delivered the first 15 EVs made in the U.S. to the Indiana Department of Administration for inclusion in the state's vehicle fleet. As for individual sales, the Think City hasn't been priced for the U.S. but the company said late last year that its goal was to market it here at under $34,000 before incentives. Deliveries to U.S. retail customers will likely start by the end of 2012.

Danny King is a frequent contributor to Edmunds.com's Green Car Advisor.

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