Fisker Karma Plant In Southern California: More Details Emerge


2012 Fisker Karma + Aero L-39 Albatros jet trainer, Hollister Municipal Airport, CA [by Refael Azi]

2012 Fisker Karma + Aero L-39 Albatros jet trainer, Hollister Municipal Airport, CA [by Refael Azi]

Enlarge Photo

The resuscitated Fisker Automotive has signed a lease deal for what is expected to become a new vehicle assembly plant in California.

The announcement marks a significant milestone in the luxury electric carmaker's return from bankruptcy.

As previously discussed by Fisker, the plant will be located in Moreno Valley--not far from the company's headquarters in Costa Mesa.

DON'T MISS: New Fisker Targets Mid-2016 For U.S. Production Of Luxury Plug-In Hybrid

The Southern California region Riverside County region has not been home to a carmaker since General Motors shuttered a plant in Van Nuys in 1992, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Fisker, now owned by Chinese auto parts giant Wanxiang, has signed an 11-year lease estimated to be worth $30 million.

That grants it access to a 556,000-square-foot industrial building.

2012 Fisker Karma from the Rogers' Classic Car Museum collection

2012 Fisker Karma from the Rogers' Classic Car Museum collection

Enlarge Photo

The building is suitable for housing an assembly line because it is rectangular and 1,600 feet long, a local real-estate broker told the Los Angeles Times.

Unlike rival Tesla Motors, it appears that Fisker will not repurpose an existing automotive facility.

Tesla's plant is located in Fremont, California, and was previously an assembly facility operated by General Motors and Toyota as part of the NUMMI joint venture.

ALSO SEE: Fisker To Open California Plant, No Date Yet For Electric Car Production To Resume: UPDATE

Tesla purchased that entire 370-acre assembly site for less than twice the reported cost of Fisker's 11-year lease; it now assembles cars in the 5.5 million-square-foot main building, with several additional buildings currently unused.

Proximity to Fisker's Costa Mesa headquarters is expected to provide benefits, with the two being about 60 miles apart. Similarly, Tesla's plant is 20 miles from its Palo Alto headquarters.

Fisker and the city of Moreno Valley expect the new factory to create 150 jobs initially.

2012 Fisker Karma + Aero L-39 Albatros jet trainer, Hollister Municipal Airport, CA [by Refael Azi]

2012 Fisker Karma + Aero L-39 Albatros jet trainer, Hollister Municipal Airport, CA [by Refael Azi]

Enlarge Photo

California environmental regulations make the state less-than-hospitable for new manufacturing operations, but Fisker has said California's commitment to electric cars made it an attractive choice.

Before its bankruptcy, all Karma sedans were assembled under contract by Valmet Automotive in Finland.

Fisker bought a former General Motors plant in Delaware in 2009, for a planned production expansion, but those plans were derailed by its collapse. The carmaker hasn't announced the fate of this Delaware plant yet.

MORE: The New Fisker Is Live: Original Karma Owners Get Most Support

While a 2016 relaunch for the Karma has been discussed, Fisker has been light on details about the updated vehicle itself.

The car hasn't been built since 2012, and it suffered from several quality issues when production finally started.

First shown in January 2008, the design of the Fisker Karma is now somewhat old by industry standards.

2012 Fisker Karma from the Rogers' Classic Car Museum collection

2012 Fisker Karma from the Rogers' Classic Car Museum collection

Enlarge Photo

It's also unclear what company will supply batteries for the updated Karma.

Wanxiang also owns Fisker's old battery supplier--A123 Systems--but A123 has shied away from the U.S. electric-car market since recovering from its own bankruptcy.

It does still make electric-car batteries for other markets, but plans to focus most not on electric cars but on batteries for the start-stop market.

Now that it has a place to continue building the Karma, rebuilding a network of suppliers will likely be Fisker's biggest major task.

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