Thunder Power sets up in Gosselies13/11/2018

On Friday 19 October at the former Caterpillar site in Gosselies, the Belgian press, several Chinese journalists and Walloon officials signed an agreement with Chinese electric car manufacturer Thunder Power, which has chosen Gosselies as the location for its future European manufacturing plant.

On 19 October, the Walloon Region, Sogepa and Thunder Power officially signed the agreement to take over the former Caterpillar site at Gosselies. The aim of this project is to implement a production line for small urban electric cars for the European market. Thunder Power took advantage of this event to unveil, as a world-first, its "Chloé" model, a small entry-level car. With a range of 350 km, the new model is primarily targeting major European cities.

The short ceremony started with a few words from the Walloon Minister of Economy, Pierre-Yves Jeholet: "This is an important investment for Sogepa but there will be a return, and not just financial. This project puts our region in an industry of the future". Mr Jeholet also highlighted the work done by Sogepa and the Wallonia Export-Investment Agency, as well as by "Catch", the repurposing unit set up after Caterpillar announced its intention to close its production site at Gosselies. Renaud Witmeur, head of Sogepa, also took the floor to convey "the immense hope that this signature represents, two years after the announcement of the closure of Caterpillar".

The Chinese group Thunder Power plans to build 30,000 cars annually from the last quarter of 2020 on. It also plans to recruit 350 people initially, and gradually build up to 4,000 jobs if production reaches its full capacity. These vehicles will be sold on the European market, but also in the United States and even in South Korea. They will be priced between €12,000 and €15,000, well below the market average.

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