This article was originally published on Friday, 11 October 2019 at 12:01 A.M. SGT; it has since been updated with comments from Singapore’s EDB and Dyson.
Vacuum cleaner maker Dyson said it will close its automotive project, ending plans to enter the highly competitive electric car market because its design wasn’t commercially viable, James Dyson, the company’s chairman and founder, said in an email to employees Thursday.
“The Dyson Automotive team has developed a fantastic car; they have been ingenious in their approach while remaining faithful to our philosophies. However, though we have tried very hard throughout the development process, we simply can no longer see a way to make it commercially viable,” the email said.
“We have been through a serious process to find a buyer for the project which has, unfortunately, been unsuccessful so far,” Dyson added.
Dyson will try to place the 523 workers from the automotive team in other positions within the company.
Separately, the company reiterated its plans to develop its Singapore operations. (About a year ago, the company said it would build its auto-production plant in Singapore).
“Dyson’s commitment to Singapore is as strong as ever and we have ambitious expansion plans in our research, operations and commercial teams reflecting the fact that it is a wonderful place to develop and launch technology,” the company said.
“Singapore is at the center of global supply chains and has a focus on highly skilled scientists and engineers. The Singapore government understand the reasons behind this decision and we look forward to continuing to deepen our relationship and our expansion there,” the company continued.
Tan Kong Hwee, assistant managing director at Singapore’s Economic Development Board, said that the city-state would continue to play an “important role” in Dyson’s growth.
“As Dyson’s decision not to pursue the electric vehicle business was taken at an early stage, the disruption to its operations and workforce in Singapore will be minimal,” Tan said. “Singapore and Dyson have enjoyed a strong partnership for more than 10 years and we look forward to building on this partnership.”