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DeLorean looks to an electric future in San Antonio

Back To The Future press night - London
Ian West/PA Images via Reuters Connect
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The DeLorean Motor Company has announced its comeback. The model is one of the dream vehicles of the 1980s and was immortalized in the "Back to the Future" movie series.

TPR's Jerry Clayton recently spoke with Joost de Vries, CEO of DeLorean Motor Company

Jerry Clayton: A newly reimagined all electric DeLorean sports car is coming and they're going to be built in San Antonio. Joining me today to talk about the iconic brand is DeLorean Motor Company CEO Joost de Vries. Thanks for being here today.  

Joost de Vries: Thank you for having me.

Clayton: So tell me what is the timeline for hiring and is new construction going to be required out there at Port San Antonio?

de Vries: We are moving either physically to Port San Antonio in April, and then we have another move planned in the year end in a building that exists but needs to be rebuilt. And then the big headquarter building construction should start somewhere late this year.

Clayton: Can you talk about how many people you're planning on hiring and what kind of salary ranges are being offered?

de Vries: The thrust of the hiring over the next couple of years will be on the engineering side, engineering testing validation that will be the vast majority of people. We'll have sales and marketing normal back office functions there too. I would say that we plan to be around 400, 450 people over the next few years, and the average salary should be just under 150000 a year. So a pretty well-paid jobs for this market.

Clayton: What was it that made you choose Port San Antonio as your headquarters?

de Vries: I think you need to look step one back. What made us choose San Antonio? I think San Antonio for us represented a very fast growing automotive ecosystem. You have Toyota here. You have Navistar moving in Tesla next door in Austin. Caterpillar is here. There's a lot of suppliers moving here. Southwest Research Institute is here. And those kind of things allow us to choose a location. Port San Antonio was the icing on the cake. The local management there is just incredibly focused on attracting the right type of companies in their area, very focused on software, cyber security, which played very well in what we're trying to do as a new EV company.

Clayton: Can you tell me what happened with DeLorean Motor Company after John DeLorean’s downfall, his bankruptcy and then his eventual death?

de Vries: I think if you look at the early 80s when they started and stopped, it took a few years for the bankruptcy courts to get their arms around it. An Englishman that lives in Texas, (Stephen) Wynne purchased the assets out of bankruptcy, moved everything to humble Texas and started rebuilding a service and technical support for the almost 9000 vehicles that were out there at that time. And he has been the owner of the classic DeLorean trademarks and brands for more than 30 years now. It's quite a setup they have there.

Clayton: What sort of consumer demand. Do you anticipate for the reimagined DeLorean?

de Vries: Well, first of all, it's going to be a limited production, so how many we cannot say yet? We'll come out with that later this year, but I expect to be sold out within the whole production run within the year that we launch.

Clayton: So many of us saw the Super Bowl ad. And what kind of marketing can we expect following that?

de Vries: I think you'll see us coming out with what did we do the last 40 years? I think it's very important for people to understand that DeLorean never left the market... DeLorean lived on in online games like Forza and Need for Speed and Asphalt, Playmobile, Hot Wheels. The brand never left the market. A lot of the ideas that DeLorean worked with in the early 80s is actually something that we're developing further. So you'll see a story from us what happened over the last 40 years, and that culminates with the presentation of what the vehicle looks like and when you can see it.

Clayton: So when can we get a look at the first new reimagined DeLorean?

De Vries: You'll see the physical car presented at the Concours d'Elegance in Pebble Beach in August this year, so not that far away.

Clayton: Joost de Vries, thanks for being here today. I'm sure we're all excited to see the newly reimagined DeLorean hit the road.

de Vries: Well, thank you for having me, Jerry

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Jerry Clayton can be reached at jerry@tpr.org or on Twitter at @jerryclayton.