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No “Royal” Deal Yet for Hazelwood/Emerald Automotive

Megan Lynch
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – Hopes to revive the region’s automotive industry were raised last month when a British firm announced it’s picked Hazelwood for its assembly line.   And that there was a willing customer overseas needing thousands of vehicles.

But KMOX News has learned, it’s far from a done deal.

Emerald Automotive says it hopes to have low-emission, diesel/electric delivery vans rolling off the Missouri line by 2014.

Emerald’s CEO Andy Tempest tells KMOX News, for the past two years England’s postal service — Royal Mail — has been giving input on what it would like to see in an energy efficient vehicle, even assisting in obtaining development grants in the UK.

“They’ve given us an awful lot of very, very useful information so that we design a vehicle deliberately for that delivery type of marketplace.”

But Tempest says it’s up to Emerald’s engineers to deliver the right van, and right now, they’re still developing the demonstration models for Royal Mail to test.

“At this moment in time we’re building the demonstrators and you can’t expect anyone to buy or sign up for something until they’ve actually physically seen it, driven it, tested it.”

Beyond that there would be a public process to win Royal’s bid.

Royal Mail has not responded to repeated requests for comment.

Missouri and Hazelwood officials have promised millions in incentives to Emerald, and Tuesday, KMOX News investigates who’s backing those dollars in Britain.

Copyright KMOX Radio

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