The fact that the Helmond Lightyear 0 pulled the plug from production came as an extra blow on top of the previously announced layoffs for the Finnish car manufacturer, and competitor of VDL Nedcar in Born, Valmet Automotive from Uusikaupunki. The sun went down for about 20 people in production and about 10 office workers in the department where the solar car was built at the Uusikaupunki car factory.
It is striking that the solar car from Helmond was built by a company that for 23,08% is owned by China's Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited (CATL), the world leader in battery cells for electric vehicles. The Finnish company started series production of the Lightyear 0 in November 2022. It was the first true solar electric car at the factory in Uusikaupunki in Finland. Many guests, the international media and the top management of both Lightyear and Valmet Automotive were present at the factory on that day.
Valmet Automotive had previously informed about the need to lay off personnel at the Uusikaupunki car factory. The main reason was a decrease in car production volumes in 2023. The necessary adjustments will affect a maximum of 630 employees. The employer is considering temporary layoffs, termination of employment and changes in job descriptions.
The Valmet Automotive Group is a leading European manufacturer of battery systems for electric vehicles and automotive kinematic systems for OEMs. The company is also one of the largest vehicle contract manufacturers in the world. In its strategic development, Valmet Automotive Group focuses on electromobility through the development and production of battery modules and packages for electrified vehicles. The company has offices in Finland, Germany and Poland.
Valmet Automotive's largest shareholders are the Finnish state-owned investment company Tesi and the Pontos Group, each with a stake of 38,46%. 23,08% is owned by the Chinese Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited (CATL), the world leader in battery cells for electric vehicles.