The gull-winged showstopper to make a comeback as motor firm sets up in US
An iconic, futuristic car famously built in Belfast is set to make a comeback.
It has emerged in recent days that the new DeLorean Motor Co is planning on setting up its headquarters in San Antonio in the US, bringing with it 450 new jobs and launching a new electric vehicle (EV) this year — some 40 years after the original hit the market.
Back in 1978, car mogul John DeLorean became an unlikely Troubles-era hero when he swooped into Belfast and built a factory to make the DeLorean DMC 12, which graced the silver screen in the Back to the Future films beginning in 1985. The move brought scores of much-needed jobs to the Northern Ireland economy during a period of upheaval.
Just four years later, however, it all came crashing down when the company — propped up by £77m of British government funding — went bust and John DeLorean was embroiled in a cocaine trafficking scandal.
While the businessman was later found innocent, his reputation never recovered and he died at the age of 80 in 2005.
Since then, the iconic, gull-winged coupe has been off the assembly line — but it now appears that could come to an end.
During a pre-Super Bowl TV ad earlier this week, DeLorean Motor Co hinted at its plans to resurrect an electric version of the car, with footage showing a silhouette of the vehicle. A tweet from the company said the new car will hit the market this year, adding: “The Future was never promised. Reimagine today.”
As EVs help reduce our carbon footprint and mitigate global warming, many governments around the world now offer subsidies or tax credits to promote their use.
Last year the US Congress passed a landmark new package of infrastructure laws including a $7.5bn fund to build a national EV charging point network.
DeLorean Motor Co’s new HQ will serve as a “home base” as DeLorean Motor Co “advances growth plans nationally and internationally,” the firm said.
Joost de Vries, CEO of DeLorean Motor Co, said in a statement: “We are grateful for the tremendous support we’ve received from the community. San Antonio boasts a growing component and vehicle manufacturing sector as well as a wide array of global advanced manufacturing operations.
“This allows us countless synergies between companies and suppliers in the broader region. A deep talent pool and a strong local academic ecosystem will foster further innovation.
“San Antonio boasts a growing component and vehicle manufacturing sector as well as a wide array of global advanced manufacturing operations.”
Mayor of San Antonio, Ron Nirenberg, said: “In an increasingly competitive electric vehicle market, San Antonio is ready to lead. By planning to establish their global headquarters in San Antonio, DeLorean is validating the talent, strategic preparation and adaptability our region provides for EV manufacturers to thrive.”
The DeLorean factory in Belfast built just 9,000 of the cars over its lifespan, and around 6,000 of them were sold before it went bust.
In the late 1990s, DeLorean Motor Co resurfaced when English mechanic Stephen Wynne — who founded the new company — bought the name of the company and other remnants and opened a DeLorean showroom and restoration facility in Texas.
It’s main line of work in recent years has been servicing the original DeLoreans that are still on the road.
Due to the rise in popularity and accessibility of electric vehicles, one Welsh company, Electric Classic Cars, has been converting classic cars from fossil fuel into electric.
It recently completed work on a DeLorean using a Tesla drivetrain, a first in the UK.