Think City introductory price: $34,000

Norwegian automaker's CMO details to blog PluginCars.com how the company's U.S. sales strategy for 2011 and beyond focuses on urbanites.

Think plans to target urbanites and open retail stores in cities as part of its U.S. market strategy for the Think City EV. Think

Automaker Think plans to introduce its all-electric Think City car in mid-2011 at a price of $34,000 before incentives, the company's chief marketing officer announced via a Monday interview with blog PluginCars.com.

Think CMO Michael Lock said he is under no illusions about the company's place in the U.S. car market. He said Think's management does not expect the average American family to replace its combustion engine car with a small electric vehicle. It does believe, however, that the urban family will consider buying the Think City as a second car, with which to run light errands amid congested city streets. Think plans to build its brand in the United States around that idea, Lock said.

"We see ourselves as an urban city car specialist," Lock told PluginCars.

The three-door Think City plug-in electric vehicle, or EV, has a range of about 112 miles on a single charge, and it can be recharged with up to 80 percent battery capacity in 15 minutes at a fast-charging station. It can also be recharged from a standard U.S. 110-volt outlet, though at a much slower rate.

Lock cited the car's near-silent cabin, small size, good visibility, and scratch-resistant body as reasons it is ideal for driving in cities. He said Think intends to build a small but loyal base of urban customers in the U.S. by launching city-based retail stores.

The CMO also reiterated his company's plan to introduce the Think City to five markets for its initial U.S. rollout: Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City , Washington, D.C., and Indianapolis. By the end of the year, Think plans to deliver 300 Think City cars to dealers in Indiana and Maryland.

Why is Indianapolis on that list? The Norwegian automaker has ties to the Indiana community.

Think is opening an assembly plant for the Think City in Elkhart, Ind. , which also happens to be home to EnerDel's battery manufacturing plant. EnerDel is the exclusive supplier of lithium ion batteries for all U.S. Think City cars and will also supply batteries for 60 percent of the European Think City cars.

About the author

In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.

 

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