French coachbuilder Heuliez planned to build the Opel Agila based Heuliez WILL using MICHELIN Active Wheel Motors starting in 2010.
Heuliez will no longer produce cars but has a future as a parts supplier, according to new CEO Francois de Gaillard. In late June, new owners and a 10 million euros ($12.4 million) loan from the French government served to save France's last coachbuilder, which had been under bankruptcy protection.
In an interview de Gaillard said that he doesn't believe that contract manufacturing (supplying complete vehicles to OEMs) has a future. Instead, Heuliez will supply stamped parts and subassemblies to automakers and other industry sectors. De Gaillard said that the company is banking on its reputation for A-class stamped parts such as doors, roof, trunk lids and fenders, as well as for complete hand-made prototypes.
Heuliez will still offer these parts to the auto industry, and the rail and aerospace sectors. Last month, industrial group Baelen Gaillard Industrie (BGI) of France became the sole owner of Heuliez's stamping and body-in-white business after a French bankruptcy court approved the rescue deal. German groups Kohl and ConEnergy got a 68.2% in Heuliez's electric car division, which has been renamed Mia Electric GmbH. Meanwhile, the Poitou-Charentes region, where Heuliez is based, owns the remaining 31.8%.
The fate of the Michelin powered Heuliez WILL is unknown.