By on March 12, 2010

The former GM-Toyota joint-venture known as New United Motor Manufacturing Inc (NUMMI) in Fremont, CA is a big plant. Its nearly 5,000 employees  can churn out over 400,000 compact cars and pickups in a year when operating at full capacity, which of course it hasn’t been for some time. With GM leaving the joint venture during bankruptcy, and Toyota currently winding down the remaining operations, those 4,700-ish employees and their 5.3m square foot plant need work. Local media call their outlook “gloomy,” noting that semiconducter workers will be first in line for the few new manufacturing jobs in the area, with a solar panel firm. But, in keeping with the green revival theme, an electric vehicle startup called Aurica says it’s in negotiations to take over NUMMI, where it says it will build unspecified EVs, in a venture that currently has an “undisclosed” finance plan. Are we buying this? Let’s look at some numbers.

Current Aurica employees: 8

Current NUMMI employees: 4,700

Current Aurica payroll: Unknown

Current NUMMI payroll: $580m/year

Approximate cost to switch NUMMI production to a new model: $500m

Estimated funding needed by Aurica: $1b

Approximate price of current NUMMI products: $15k+

Approximate price (estimated) of Aurica products: $40k+

Let’s put it this way: Barack Obama has pledged that there will be 1 million plug-in vehicles on the road by 2015, and has granted retooling loans and other federal support for projects like Nissan’s Leaf and Chevy’s Volt. The idea that NUMMI’s 500k unit capacity could be used to build EVs “within two years” as Aurica’s reps suggest, is laughable… especially considering that the $40k+ EV market already has a healthy number of contenders. The fact that Tesla was level-headed enough to recognize that NUMMI is way too big for even their outsized ambitions says everything you need to know about Aurica’s NUMMI plans. Or, to quote NUMMI spokesfolks:

While we appreciate their interest in NUMMI, there has not been an opportunity for productive discussions with Aurica. We are not sure whether their proposal is viable

Ya think?

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

5 Comments on “The Audacity Of Startups: 8-Person EV Firm Targets NUMMI...”


  • avatar
    Emro

    maybe Aurica meant to announce this on Apr 1?

  • avatar
    crash sled

    Don’t laugh. Government Motors needs to expand and grow, just like any other OEM. Aurica is playing it smart, and they might get a buyout off their letterhead alone. And California will push it of course, so lots of synergy here. You TTAC guys shoulda done a start up and made this same pitch.

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    +1 crash sled,

    The frightening part is that Uncle Sugar has been whippin’ it out and pissin’ away the borrowed money on even less viable projects for the last 15 years.

    “Homeland Security” sets money on fire by the truckload.

    Think about it this way – we spent over 750MM to hire the overpaid mall cops that are TSA workers.

  • avatar
    Scorched Earth

    I bet they’re just bluffing. This is MAJOR PR for a little firm in a crowded sea of startups.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    “Barack Obama has pledged that there will be 1 million plug-in vehicles on the road by 2015″

    And he promised that the health care bill would be negotiated on C-SPAN.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

  • Re: Hyundai, Tesla In Spat Over Funding Of Supercharger Network

    VoGo - Marcelo, On Verizon, yes the US government is deeply involved in the mobile telephony business, but I think that at the end of the day,...
  • Re: 2015 Mazda2 Revealed

    rockets - So maybe not the 25 % increase or so in both hp and mpg. Hopefully it is at least as fun to drive. A friend has an ’11 and it is a blast if you flog it.
  • Re: Capsule Review: 2015 Subaru WRX

    wmba - If you can do it in 500 words, I’d be impressed :) Reason being, most mechanical engineers let alone the average joe haven’t a clue how a regular...
  • Re: Chart Of The Day: Crossovers Are King

    Jeff S - CUVs sit a little higher and they are easier to get in and out of. If you want to carry something you can fold the rear seat down and have plenty of room....
  • Re: Chart Of The Day: Crossovers Are King

    mopar4wd - Depends on where you live my street does not have many CUVs because we tend to have older cars in this working classs neighborhood. Go over to the local...
  • Re: Junkyard Find: 1976 Ford LTD Brougham

    roger628 - I remember from 1970 to 1977, the 351 was the smallest standard engine in the LTD. This was barely adequate, especially in the post-72 behemoths. How a 302...
  • Re: Chart Of The Day: Crossovers Are King

    VoGo - Maymar, Tomorrow is your lucky day: Toyota is announcing the 2015 mid-cycle refresh of the Sienna. “Let the countdown to the unexpected begin.”
  • Re: Hyundai, Tesla In Spat Over Funding Of Supercharger Network

    Marcelo de Vasconcellos - Don’t know the US case, but this kind of thing (Verizon) does involve tax breaks and government oversight of...
  • Re: Chart Of The Day: Crossovers Are King

    PrincipalDan - @Maymar, the minivan will survive. Even Kia invested in a revised platform, the new Chrysler vans will be out soon enough, and Toyota would not want to...
  • Re: Confession Time: I Want A Smart Forfour

    Maymar - I’ve heard of condo-dwelling couples who only have one parking spot buying a pair of Smarts and fitting them both in the same spot.

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India