• Oct 27th 2009 at 1:00PM
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In Wilmington, Delaware this morning, Governor Jack Markell was joined by Vice President Joe Biden and Henrik Fisker (seen at right) for the official announcement about the purchase of General Motors' closed plant there. Fisker will re-tool the plant to build a new, more affordable plug-in hybrid sedan to slot in below its more luxurious Karma. The goal is to have the model sell for under $40,000 after federal tax credits.
The current schedule is to have the car in production by the end of 2012 with volumes getting up to 75,000-100,000 units annually by 2014. Fisker has moved up its development schedule for what they are calling Project Nina thanks to the $528 million low cost loan it recently received courtesy of the Department of Energy. During the announcement, Fisker stated that he wants to export half of the production from the plant while creating 5,000 jobs in the U.S. (2,000 at the plant and 3,000 at suppliers). The local UAW president was also on hand, so it looks like the plant will remain unionized, which is very unusual for a startup auto plant.

Fisker is paying $18 million for the factory from Motors Liquidation which is the remainder of "Old GM" which is selling off assets from bankruptcy court. The plant most recently produced the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky, both of which ended production last spring.

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[Source: Fisker Automotive | Photo by Jeff Fusco/Getty]


Fisker Automotive to Buy U.S. Assembly Plant to Build Affordable Plug-in Hybrid Cars

WILMINGTON, Del., Oct. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Fisker Automotive has selected the Wilmington Assembly plant in Wilmington Delaware to build affordable plug-in hybrid cars.

Fisker executives made the announcement inside the dormant facility today, joined by Vice President Joe Biden, Delaware Governor Jack Markell and other state officials.

The plant will support Fisker Automotive's Project NINA, the development and build of an affordable, family-oriented plug-in hybrid sedan costing about $39,900 after federal tax credits.

Production is scheduled to begin in late 2012. Fisker Automotive anticipates Project NINA will ultimately create or support 2,000 factory jobs and more than 3,000 vendor and supplier jobs by 2014, as production ramps up to full capacity of 75,000-100,000 vehicles per year. More than half will be exported, the largest percentage of any domestic manufacturer.

The modernized Wilmington Assembly plant was selected for its size, production capacity, world-class paint facilities, access to shipping ports, rail lines and available skilled workforce.

"This is a major step toward establishing America as a leader of advanced vehicle technology," said Henrik Fisker, CEO. "Wilmington is perfect for high quality, low volume production and will soon be the proud builder of world-class, fuel-efficient Fisker plug-in hybrids."

Fisker Automotive has signed a letter of intent with Motors Liquidation Co. (MLC), formerly known as General Motors Corp. to purchase the Wilmington plant for $18 million after a routine four-month evaluation period.

An additional $175 million will be spent to refurbish and retool the factory over the next three years.

Funds will come from a conditional loan of $528.7M the Department of Energy awarded the company in September.

The loan is part of the $25B Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program (ATVM) appropriated by Congress in 2007 to help the United States lead in the development and manufacturing of advanced technology vehicles.

The company's first car, the Fisker Karma, will be the world's first production plug-in hybrid when it goes on sale this summer at retailers in the U.S. and Europe.

Fisker plug-in hybrid cars will help remove the country's dependence on foreign energy by eliminating the need for 42 million barrels of oil by 2016. They will also offset 8 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

"With our close-knit business, government, and educational communities and our potential to respond rapidly to new opportunities, today's announcement is a testament to what works best in Delaware. Fisker is a perfect partner in shaping Delaware's economic future, and we are thrilled that the vehicle that can reshape the automobile industry will be built here in Delaware, by Delaware workers." said Governor Jack Markell (D-Delaware).

Gary Casteel, UAW director responsible for the plant, said, "It gives me great pride to give UAW Local 435 workers the opportunity to partner with Fisker Automotive to create a greener America by building a plug-in hybrid car that will compete globally."


Fisker Automotive is a privately owned, premium American car company with a vision to lead the automotive industry into the next-generation of automobiles with high-end design expertise and eco-friendly powertrain technology. Global headquarters are in Irvine, California, USA.

The company was created in 2007 to leverage the design capabilities of Fisker Coachbuild, LLC, founded by auto design veterans Henrik Fisker and Bernhard Koehler, and the PHEV powertrain capabilities of Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc. (NASDAQ:QTWW) , a major Tier 1 supplier of clean vehicle technologies to the automotive OEMs. Previously, Fisker, CEO, was design director for Aston Martin and president and CEO of BMW's DesignworksUSA. Koehler, COO, led operations for Ford's Global Advanced Design Studio and created concept cars for Aston Martin, MINI and BMW.


The Wilmington Assembly plant was built by General Motors in 1947. Over the years it has been expanded to 3.2 million square feet on 142 acres of land. It includes an on-site powerhouse and waste water treatment facility. More than 8.5 million cars have been manufactured there, including the Pontiac Streamliner, original Chevrolet Impala, 1997-1999 Chevrolet Malibu, Saturn L-Series and the Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky/Opel GT roadsters. Production capacity is 300,000 cars per year. The plant and its workforce have received many awards for excellence in quality, production and safety.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Like many on here - I wonder about the business plan.

      Most notably, I wonder what the volume will be of a $40k plug-in hybrid or electric will be - especially in comparison to something like the 3-series (e.g. 335D). Even if a significant number are exported, that still means a relatively unproven car selling for a particularly hefty price - something that will only remain feasible if the dollar keeps its fire-sale low value against the Euro.

      • 5 Years Ago
      " The goal is to have the model sell for under $40,000 after federal tax credits. "

      How about selling an affordable product people what to buy WITHOUT the taxpayer's underwriting the purchase price and artificially boosting the demand?
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Seed money"???

        When capitalism was still in this country, it was called a business loan. Taxpayers weren't stuck with the bill, and the risk, for propping up a company who hasn't even made car #1 yet.

        Damn the costs, full speed ahead all in the name of being "green"! Whether it will ever be cost effective or not!
        • 5 Years Ago
        And without the union!!! Fisker + union = fail
        • 5 Years Ago
        someone really doesn't understand what seed money means. apparently if the government hadn't started buying all recycled paper years ago the market for recycled paper would have remained stagnant due to the cost. because of the government investment, economies of scale (take an econ class) were reached sooner and recycled paper became competitive with virgin paper and now it's ubiquitous.

        the seed money that the tax credits provide does the same thing: hastening economies of scale for new auto technology, lower the cost in the long run so that the technology eventually can compete on an equal or better footing than antiquated, but refined tech.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Anyone ever hear of Briklin or Delorean? They were finaced by private investors and are History. This company is finaced by the American Taxpayer and the outcome will be the same. In the meantime the executives will be living high on the Hog at our expense. OINK!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Good news for the workers at the plant.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Too bad hybrid technology is a second rate non-solution to the problem of the internal combustion engine/American reliance on opec/eco concerns of today.

      Toyota's marketing firm has the American people absolutely conned.

      I saw an interview with an expert on the auto industry (on TSN - Canada's sports network) who explained he'd been hearing reports of people being offered $500.00 when trading in their first generation Prius' because of dead or dieing batteries.

      Look to Honda and GM for an actual solution: Hydrogen power.

      Hydrogen in = H2O out.

      • 5 Years Ago
      I actually shook Mr. Fisker's hand once at the Father's Day Rodeo Drive car show. Great guy. And even better car designer.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I love the Karma, it is just gorgeous.
      For a minute there I thought they were selling it for $40,000, I was going to jump up and try to track one down.
        • 5 Years Ago
        one of the most beautiful cars on earth next to the Maserati Gran Turismo (kinda looks like it).
        I would buy one in a second given the cash. I am still having trouble with the grill shape though, the Bugs Bunny teeth and Joker smile. On the Artega however, somehow he kept his signature grill but it doesnt offend.
        Let's hope this new smaller $40K car has the simplicity and good looks of the Artega.

        GO HENRIK!!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm tired of all these smarter than thou comments. Wake up! The Fisker loan was legalized fleecing. Why didn't they get the loan through Abu Dhabi or China like everyone else? It feels better to take the pork&beans from the homeless shelter because of delicious irony?
      Taxpayers would never bankroll this loan. What are we Russians?


      NTM that thing looks as excessively long and lane-filling wide as a 2019 Honda Civic will.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sure wish someone would pick up our Fremont, Ca. NUMMI plant out here in the S.F. Bay Area?

      After the GM bankruptcy/bailout, GM left Toyota by themselves to deal with the NUMMI plant out here that was building Corrollas, and Pontiacs. Now Toyota says that plant will be closed in early 2010.

      It was a UAW worker plant, and the UAW out here along with local and state officials offered all kinds of concessions and encouragements to Toyota to stay in Fremont. Toyota wouldn't bite, and is moving their Corrolla manufacturing out in early 2010. Thousands of UAW workers will be out of jobs. I believe this is the last auto manufacturing plant in California.

      The Delaware deal is a our V.P. Biden's doing. It's his state; Deleware. Wonder how that all happened?

      Biden is one shrewd politician. You know that Delaware getting that plant going wasn't an accident. The Fed's got their barbs in GM, and GM had to bend over, and take care of Biden's constiuents.
      • 5 Years Ago
      jeez, well i guess if everyone's so upset about wasting tax payer money on this, can we apply that to other industries? can we take away oil subsidies? how about coal? corn subsidies? do any of these industries really need " tax payer funded welfare"? put up or shut up.
      • 5 Years Ago
      -one thing that may have been missed-

      Fisker will also build a crossover in addition to the (Nina) sedan and coupe. Bidden said so when talking to the crowd and Henrik confirmed that "He definitely told what our product plans are.”

      Not sure what that means to the Sunset and Karma hardtop convertible - but it is possible that both are also build in the same plant eventually.

      • 5 Years Ago
      "The goal is to have the model sell for under $40,000 after federal tax credits(tax payer funded welfare to the company)".
        • 5 Years Ago
        People like you whine about your tax money and all this nonsense.
        I never hear you whine about military spending.
        I was watching The History Channel this weekend and this has this missile that cost $80,000 each.

        $80,000 freaking thousand for one missile.
        • 5 Years Ago
        WTF does military spending have to do with my comment. I don't like funding that either. I don't want to fund health insurance for illegal aliens, I don't want to fund health insurance for do nothing Capital Hill employees, etc......
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