Even if a new investor helps Fisker Automotive resume production of its plug-in hybrid cars, it’s unlikely the company will ever continue to build cars at a former General Motors factory in Delaware. U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Delaware) told Bloomberg that Fisker is likely to abandon the factory.
“It’s hard to see how this ends up with Fisker building cars in Delaware,” Carper told Bloomberg.
Fisker Automotive’s assets are now under the control of Hybrid Tech Holdings, a group led by a Hong Kong investor. Hybrid Tech bought Fisker’s debts from the Department of Energy for $25 million. Though the group has reportedly pledged to keep Fisker engineering in California and manufacturing in the U.S., there are no firm signs that either operation is progressing. As a result, Senator Carper told Bloomberg he plans to use the 2014 Detroit auto show to drum up interest for other automakers to buy the Delaware plant.
Fisker announced in 2009 that it would revamp a former GM factory in Wilmington, Delaware, to use for building its second-generation plug-in hybrid cars. The company’s first-gen car, the Karma, was assembled in Finland, so it looked like the planned Fisker Atlantic would be produced in Delaware. However, those plans started to be questioned by 2012.
Soon after, Fisker Automotive itself fell apart. After extensive recalls of the Karma, including one for faulty battery packs that helped push battery supplier A123 Systems into bankruptcy, and the destruction of many unsold cars during Hurricane Sandy, founder Henrik Fisker resigned from his namesake company in March 2013. By then, however, the U.S. Department of Energy had already frozen parts of a $529 million loan given to Fisker in 2009 for missing deadlines in development of its new cars; the DoE had already given $192 million to Fisker.
A month later, Fisker Automotive fired around three-quarters of its U.S. staff and outsourced public relations duties to a third party. Later in April 2013, Fisker failed to make a $10 million loan repayment to the Department of Energy, putting the company on the road to bankruptcy.