Fisker Edges Closer to Bankruptcy as New Details Emerge

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The travails continue for Anaheim, Calif.-based Fisker. Executives at the struggling plug-in-vehicle maker met with Congress Wednesday, and new details emerged on Fisker's government dealings.

It goes like this. The U.S. Department of Energy approved $529 million in low-interest loans to Fisker in 2010 as part of its $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program, which met political fire and ceased loans to any companies in 2011. But now the Detroit News reports Fisker received $32 million in program loans in February 2011 under the notion — as required by the DOE — that it had begun to build the Karma plug-in sedan. Karma production did not, in fact, begin until months later. The federal government found out, and in June 2011, after receiving $192 million of the $529 million awarded, Fisker lost its D.C. sugar daddy.

By Kelsey Mays | April 26, 2013 | Comments (6)

Fisker Lays Off 75% of Workforce as Bankruptcy Looms

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Leonardo DiCaprio may love his Fisker Karma, but the California automaker is listing like the Titanic. Less than a month after founder Henrik Fisker quit, the boutique car company laid off some 160 employees, the Detroit News reports, as it struggles to secure funding. That's about 75% of its workforce. Automotive News reports the automaker is now facing a federal lawsuit for failing to give those employees adequate notice.

Fisker set sail in 2007, but the voyage has seen icebergs galore. We reviewed the $103,000 (including destination charge) Karma plug-in hybrid in March 2012, and we found it, well, quirky. That same month, Consumer Reports bought a Karma that promptly broke down. Fisker recalled the car twice during the next five months, the second time for possible electrical problems that could lead to a fire.

Now the Detroit News estimates Fisker has just $30 million left. Just how little is that? Consider this: Bloomberg News reports the automaker had raised more than $1 billion from private sources plus $529 million in low-interest Department of Energy loans — part of the agency's controversial $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program, whose recipients range from Tesla to Ford. The DOE stopped payments in 2011 after Fisker failed to meet conditions for the loan. Having already spent $193 million of the funding, Fisker suspended plans to build a more affordable car called the Atlantic at a shuttered GM plant in Delaware.

By Kelsey Mays | April 8, 2013 | Comments (5)

Fisker's Savior Could Come From China

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Start-up plug-in car company Fisker Automotive may have started in Anaheim, Calif., but the troubled automaker's operations could be moving to China. According to USA Today, Fisker is interested in selling a controlling stake of the company, and an interested party is Dongfeng Motor Corp., one of China's largest automakers.

USA Today reports that the Wuhan, China-based company has made a $350 million offer that would give it a majority stake of the company. Fisker is seeking investors to keep it afloat after a year full of production delays, recalls and financial setbacks, including the loss of Department of Energy loans, a CEO shakeup and employee layoffs.

The company's only vehicle, the Karma sedan, retails for $103,000, including a $1,000 destination charge, and is no longer in production since battery supplier A123 Systems Inc. filed for bankruptcy last year. In light of its troubles, Fisker has also shelved plans to produce the smaller and more affordable Atlantic extended-range electric sedan.

Related
Report: Fisker weighing bids, including Dongfeng (USA Today)
More Fisker News on Cars.com
More Hybrid and Electric Car News on Cars.com

By Jennifer Geiger | February 18, 2013 | Comments (0)

Fisker Delays Mass-Market Atlantic

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Production of Fisker's smaller Atlantic extended-range electric sedan has been pushed back to 2014 or 2015, according to a report from Reuters. Fisker planned the Atlantic to be a more affordable, mass-marketed luxury electric sedan, a follow-up to the expensive Karma extended-range electric car.

"The Atlantic is really the volume car that begins to build growth," Fisker chief executive Tony Posawatz said in an investor presentation where the updated Atlantic information was revealed.

The midsize Atlantic is roughly the size of an Audi A6 and uses a new, lighter platform compared with the larger Karma, despite looking nearly identical. The Atlantic's targeted base price of $55,000 is considerably more affordable than the $102,000 Karma, and the new platform could spawn future models, like an SUV.

The production delay comes after a rough year for Fisker. The Department of Energy froze a $529 million loan, and numerous recalls have tainted the Karma's launch after already being delayed roughly a year.

Related
Fisker Atlantic Sedan Production Pushed Back at Least Two Years (Reuters)
Fisker Atlantic Concept at the New York Auto Show
2012 Fisker Karma Review

By Joe Bruzek | October 17, 2012 | Comments (1)

Fisker Atlantic Concept: Photo Gallery

Fisker Atlantic Concept

Despite the recent problems with the launch of the Fisker Karma, the startup carmaker is charging ahead by showing a smaller, more affordable plug-in hybrid model at the 2012 New York auto show called the Fisker Atlantic concept.

More 2012 New York Auto Show Coverage

The model you see here is about 90% ready for production, says the carmaker, which just raised nearly $400 million to complete the project and sustain the company.

By Colin Bird | April 4, 2012 | Comments (1)

Fisker Atlantic Concept at the New York Auto Show

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  • Looks like: A smaller Karma with a family focus
  • Defining characteristics: Familiar Fisker lines, 22-inch wheels, folding backseat
  • Ridiculous features: No timetable, no price, few drivetrain details and no factory in which to build it
  • Chance of being mass-produced: The intention is 100%; only the company's considerable challenges call the model's future into question

Fisker Automotive, the company behind the Karma range-extended electric car, has finally given shape and a name to the more affordable car heretofore known as Project Nina: The Atlantic appeared on the eve of the 2012 New York auto show as a concept. The company's co-founder and designer Henrik Fisker said the model is 90% into its development cycle. If the Karma is any indication, the real thing will look almost exactly like this concept, though Fisker says the interior will be changed substantially.

More 2012 New York Auto Show Coverage

From its front-end design to its 22-inch wheels, the Atlantic is an obvious Karma sibling, though the company says it doesn't share the $102,000 luxury car's platform. Lighter and roughly the size of an Audi A6, the Atlantic is meant to be more affordable and mass-marketable, though the company is mum on a timetable and pricing. Originally, Project Nina was expected to go on sale in 2013 priced at around $50,000 to $60,000, a reasonable range to compete with the Tesla Model S, for which competitor Tesla has similar goals.

By Joe Wiesenfelder | April 4, 2012 | Comments (0)

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