2009 Fisker Karma prototypeEnlarge Photo
Throwing money at a problem won't necessarily make it go away, but it might put you in a position to do something about it.
That's essentially the method Fisker's new Chinese owners Wanxiang Group is taking to revive the once-bankrupt electric automaker--and the stakes are high.
"I’ll burn as much cash as it takes to succeed," Wanxiang chairman and founder Lu Guanqiu told Bloomberg, "or until Wanxiang goes bust.”
He said the company will invest "every cent Wanxiang earns" into making electric vehicles, with plans to move Fisker beyond the U.S. market and into China itself--not unlike the plans of Tesla Motors.
Over the past few years, Fisker has been better-known for its failures than its successes.
A litany of problems and problematic circumstances culminated in the company's bankruptcy last year, taking $139 million in taxpayers' money with it.
Wanxiang won a bidding war for the automaker, with plans to revive the Karma, its first model, as well as putting stillborn vehicles like the Surf and the smaller Atlantic model. Currently, these are set to return in 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Wanxiang also owns battery maker A123 Systems, whose own bankruptcy caused supply problems that kicked off Fisker's long spiral into oblivion.
Guanqiu's eventual aim is to move into the Chinese market, the biggest auto market in the world and one increasingly concerned about the polluting effects of road transport.
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has previously said that China could become the biggest market for the Model S electric sedan--and Fisker's new owner apparently has similar thoughts.
Wanxiang's founder has held long-standing ambitions to produce electric cars, but to no avail.
The Fisker purchase, and the expertise in building desirable electric cars that comes with it, could finally put him in a position to move beyond the company's existing electric output--the 700 electric buses currently undergoing trials in Chinese cities.
Guanqiu is under no illusions of the difficulties ahead, either. He says there are "no shortcuts" in competing against foreign automakers--adding that any successful company has to accrue a competitive advantage over time.
Enormous buckets of cash probably don't hurt, either.