Over the past decade and a half, business models have changed. Thanks to the internet and certain technology improvements, start-ups have popped up in industries previously dominated by big companies with big resources. Amazon is one good example of this phenomenon, Netflix is another.
Although building automobiles requires more physical resources than, say, running a massive online auction site like eBay, we've begun to see edgy start-ups in the auto industry, too -- companies like Tesla and Fisker, and more recently, V-Vehicle. Now another is hoping to join the fray: Hybrid Kinetic Motors, which has dreams of opening a plant in Montgomery, Alabama. As it turns out, this is the same clean-tech venture that we hinted at last summer, headed up by exiled Brilliance China Automotive exec Yang Rong, who is now known as Yung "Benjamin" Yeung.
Hybrid Kinetic says that it's an international company (though Yeung seems to be based in Pasadena, California), and it has this rather ambitious mission statement:
Hybrid Kinetic Motors (HK Motors) is a newly established hybrid vehicle company that aims to become a world leading technological enterprise in the development and manufacture of hybrid vehicles, and to provide worldwide customers with vehicles and services that are energy-efficient, safe, environmentally-friendly, strong in performance, and high in quality.
HK Motors will reach this goal through:
• Recruiting globally to build a strong international team
• Adopting and developing world leading technologies
• Managing and controlling core patents and critical product manufacturing
• Creating a global product development network
• Conducting worldwide purchasing
• Establishing green-field operations in the USA and China
• Providing innovative marketing and sales models and services
Initial production is targeted for 2012, while full capacity of 3 million vehicles per year will be reached by 2018. [emphasis entirely ours]
The company has produced a prototype vehicle -- the Italian-styled, German-engineered Quaranta -- in the hopes of attracting investors. And since Alabama Governor Bob Riley wants Hybrid Kinetic to prove that it has secured at least $1 billion in financing before he offers any tax incentives, the company is going to need every investor it can find.