Hold onto your flux capacitors: The DeLorean Motor Company is back and making San Antonio its home.
Economic development officials announced Monday that the once-defunct 1980s-era car manufacturer, whose gull-wing car was best known as a time-travel machine in the Back to the Future movies, will establish its reconstituted headquarters at Port San Antonio as it seeks other locations for manufacturing operations.
The brand is staging a comeback in the realm of electric vehicle (EV) production, a plan the car company teased in a 15-second spot during the Super Bowl LVI game Sunday.
The DeLorean headquarters will bring 450 executive, management and engineering jobs to San Antonio, according to a statement from greater:SATX, which leads economic development efforts for the San Antonio region. The statement also said the deal to build its offices at the industry and technology hub of Port San Antonio is contingent on the company receiving economic development incentive offers from the City of San Antonio and Bexar County.
“This is a tremendous win for our region as we further focus our efforts to attract high impact, global headquarters to San Antonio,” said Jenna Saucedo-Herrera, greater:SATX president and CEO. “DeLorean plans to relocate its C-suite executives to San Antonio and hire hundreds of engineering and management positions within our community.”
Electric vehicle manufacturing is a new venture for DeLorean, known best for its stainless steel sports car that debuted in 1981.
First established by auto industry executive John DeLorean in 1975, the car company produced about 9,000 cars at a plant in Northern Ireland between 1981 and 1982 before the company went bankrupt and its founder was arrested for drug trafficking. The cars have lived on in pop culture lore thanks partly to their distinctive design and starring role in three Back to the Future films beginning in 1985.
British-born mechanic Stephen Wynne purchased the rights to the DeLorean name and remaining parts inventory in 1995. Since then, the company has provided service to the 6,000 DeLorean cars still in existence from its home in Humble, north of Houston.
Its entry into electric vehicle manufacturing will be the company’s first go at building cars since the original plant closed in 1982. DeLorean joins a list of at least 17 automakers planning to electrify their models in coming years.
“We are grateful for the tremendous support we’ve received from the community,” said Joost de Vries, CEO of DeLorean Motor Company. “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 established companies and suppliers in the broader region. A deep talent pool and a strong local academic ecosystem will foster further innovation.”
Vehicle makers Toyota, Navistar and Tesla make up a growing regional automotive industry that also has attracted a network of suppliers established in the corridor between Austin and Monterrey, Mexico.
“We have invested in building the ecosystem with the engineering, tech and cyber talent, infrastructure, and supply chain that companies need,” stated Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff in a press release. “We’re about to see those investments pay tremendous dividends.”
DeLorean officials have said they plan to work with local and regional educational institutions to develop and recruit employees and also look to Southwest Research Institute for research and development expertise.
The city and county are considering incentive packages to support the company’s growth in San Antonio, according to the statement from greater:SATX.
Toyota chose San Antonio for its $2.1 billion Tundra assembly plant in 2003 after being awarded more than $1 million in incentives from the city plus more from the county and state. In 2019, the city awarded Toyota nearly $10 million in incentives for a major plant expansion.
“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,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “In an increasingly competitive electric vehicle market, San Antonio is ready to lead.”