What's Going On At Fisker These Days?

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2012 Fisker Karma EcoChic, New York City, Jan 2012

2012 Fisker Karma EcoChic, New York City, Jan 2012

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At this point, many auto journalists have a pre-written obituary for Fisker Automotive all ready to publish if that company declares bankruptcy.

Which, so far, it hasn't.

And according to Reuters, its remaining executives are working furiously to arrange a buyout to avoid that fate.

In fact, the company is now surviving on funds personally provided by Ray Lane, a partner emeritus at famed Silicon Valley venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins.

Lane took "delivery" of the first Fisker Karma in July 2011, in a staged event to promote the notion that the range-extended electric car had entered volume production.

He resigned from Fisker's board three weeks ago.

A few hints to Fisker's current status can be found in the Reuters piece, which looks at why Fisker failed to sell itself to any of several Chinese investors interested in the company.

(Miscommunication, the complexities of a Department of Energy loan, and differing opinions of its worth may all have contributed, the piece suggests.)

But, Reuters suggests, the company is pursuing a bid by Hong Kong investor and billionaire Richard Li to buy out the DoE's loan for "pennies on the dollar," which would remove the U.S. government involvement--and allow the company to avoid bankruptcy.

As a result, worries an unnamed source, the company appears to be stalling on a second possible rescue path.

That comes from VL Automotive, which wants to buy Fisker--and has partnered with Chinese auto-parts maker Wanxiang, which bought Fisker's battery supplier A123 Systemsout of bankruptcy.

VL is the firm that unveiled the Destino at this year's Detroit Auto Show, essentially a Fisker body with its electric powertrain replaced by a Corvette small-block V-8 engine.

Fisker Automotive's namesake and cofounder, Henrik Fisker, is also bidding for the company, is connected to the Richard Li that bid as well.

Fisker had left the company in mid-March, a few weeks before it became clear that Chinese companies would not come to its rescue as envisioned.

The company laid off 75 percent of its workforce on April 5.

And there it stands for the moment, while, as Reuters notes, "the company's value is dropping by the day."


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Comments (11)
  1. Proof Fisker could steal Teslas' Ideas, but not its ingenuity or business model. RIP Fisker..

  2. Charles Tesla lost its lawsuit to Fisker and were ordered to pay legal costs. The idea of electric and plug in hybrid cars was not created by Tesla!

  3. Just because Tesla lost the lawsuit does not make Tesla wrong or Fisker right. The Karma was aptly, and prophetically named.

  4. I think the longer it waits the more liability it will have. (Loans and all the interests)

    The sooner it ends, the better it will be.

    If Fisker wants a revival, maybe a luxury version of the SUV might work for the EREV concept. Weight will also be a less concern especially for the class that it is aimed for.

  5. Some of your facts are wrong. It's been well-established that Henrik Fisker is linked to the Richard Li bid, not the VL / Chinese parts manufacturer bid. The Li-backed offer gives Fisker Automotive the best chance of not only avoiding bankruptcy but of actually fulfilling the ultimate goal of the company, which was not to produce a $100,000 car for the top 1% but the Atlantic and its lower-priced iterations. That's where much of the development money went. To imply that they blew it all on the Karma is ridiculous.

  6. And probably the best chance for investors to get money back. The Bob Lutz crappy offer stirred with his long time follower Tony Posawatz values the company at a mere $20m. There is no value in that deal for anyone. Tony Posawatz is the reason why Fisker is in this place. He was fired from GM and brings nothing but Detroit type management style along with Bob Lutz! We all know what happened to GM!

  7. Investors are not getting their money back. Whatever buyout is reached will end up paying back perhaps 5-10% of what was invested in the company.

  8. @Paul: Do you have a source for Tony Posawatz being "fired" from GM?

    I spoke to him at the time, when he conveyed that he left essentially because he was frustrated with changes at GM and didn't see a compelling next project for himself.

    So I'm very curious to see your source material. Please provide links.

  9. @Peter: You're quite right that Henrik Fisker is connected to the Richard Li bid, not the VL Automotive/Wanxiang bid.

    That was an error on my part, and I've corrected the article accordingly. My apologies.

    As for the rest of your assertions, they're not directly addressed by the piece one way or the other, so no corrections are required.

  10. John,

    Good article. It's nice to read one without a sensationalized title or dramatic "facts".

  11. @Mark: Thank you kindly, sir. We do try.

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