Following its $149.2 million acquisition of Fisker Automotive earlier this month, Chinese auto parts giant Wanxiang stated that it seeks to restart production of the Karma plug-in hybrid “within a year.” Head of Wanxiang’s U.S. operations, Pin Ni, told Reuters that vehicles produced at the company’s Finland-based plant will be sold in the United States and in Europe.
Fisker’s sales never really took off, and by the time the bankrupt automaker was forced to cease manufacturing operations before heading into bankruptcy, only 1,800 Karma vehicles were sold. “Obviously we want to sell more than what Fisker sold before under its previous management,” Ni said in an interview with Reuters.
Although Delaware U.S. Senator Tom Carper handily dismissed speculation that Fisker would ever resume production at the former General Motors factory in Delaware, Ni said there are still other options for U.S.-based manufacturing once sales gain steam. One of these options apparently involves a partner somewhere in Michigan, but Ni would not reveal the company’s identity just yet. Future production in China is another possibility.
The General Motors factory in Delaware was originally slotted to build Fisker second model, a higher-volume, mid-size hybrid sedan called the Atlantic. Wanxiang will look to move ahead with development on the Atlantic, but it is still unclear exactly where and when it would be built.
No doubt Fisker has a deep hole to pull itself out of, but don’t count the company out just yet. It can’t afford to fall back into the previous pattern of low reliability and recalls, so Fisker’s second chance will have to be carefully executed if there’s any hope of restoring the brand’s public image.