This week, the Ouboter family from Küsnacht in Switzerland took an unusual step. All production rights for the Microlino vehicles were transferred from the Italian Tazzari to Artega GmbH in Delbrück in Westphalia. This change takes place a few days before the actual start of series production, because in recent weeks the Swiss had had the last specimens of the city vehicle built in Italy.
The Westphalians are themselves sports car manufacturers.
Their owner Klaus Frers is also the majority shareholder and founder of the company paragon, a Tier 1 supplier in the automotive industry. Frers is now investing 3 million euros in the construction of a production facility for the Microlino electric city car.
This change of heart can be seen as a huge surprise. The founders of Microlino, Wim Ouboter and his two sons Oliver and Merlin, announced last week that the Microlino production site will not be in Italy but in Delbrück near Paderborn.
The local Artega GmbH has taken over all rights for the production of the Microlino, and also the rights to the TazzarZERO vehicles from Tazzari itself. The Italians seem to have decided to work alone on new development projects in the future.
The reason for this change of heart sounds plausible. “We are pleased to announce that we have taken the Microlino project to the next level. Since March 2016 we have received more than 10,000 reservations. Dozens are added every day. We knew we needed a partner that could handle such numbers,” Oliver Ouboter said.
Artegas Vision fits the concept of the Microlino
His brother Merlin adds: “Artega’s vision of the intelligent mobility of the future fits very well with our vision of a better urban lifestyle. In addition, we have the same quality standards for our products and we are both family businesses.”
First of all, Artega’s experience with the production of high-quality series products helps. A number of Tier-1 paragon products for the Microlino should also be exciting. These products are suitable for integration such as displays, speech assistants, loudspeakers or for the interior. paragon also has a subsidiary called Voltabox, which specializes in the production of LI-ion batteries, but so far for forklift trucks and e-bikes.
For me, it is precisely this emphasis on family-owned companies that is the essential characteristic of this new partnership. The Ouboter family demonstrates entrepreneurial strength and courage with this measure. From the outside, we do not know what difficulties have arisen in Italy with the previous development and production partner Tazzari. The Microlino’s readiness for series production was at least repeatedly pushed back.
But that would be too superficial. Extraordinary entrepreneurs recognize these difficulties and are able to change their plans at short notice. The Ouboter family has now found a partner for their large Microlino project, which alone with its investment of 3 million euros over the next few weeks shows a clear commitment to the joint project. With a planned production capacity of 10,000 vehicles per year, the large backlog will be able to be processed from 2019 onwards.
One thing is also clear: if the Microlino convinces the market not only in terms of its design, but also in terms of its driving characteristics, its reliability and its fun factor, then the Ouboters will need far more than this 10,000 units of annual capacity. And then the daring change has paid off at the latest.