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2012 Fisker Karma
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What happens if you can't find an actual scandal? Make one up. The Fisker "scandal" that started at ABC News has jumped to Fox and right wing blogs, where the idea that the U.S. bumbled into paying for cars built overseas is gaining steam.

ABC's report incorrectly stated that Fisker had made off with U.S. taxpayer funds in a kind of bait and switch, promising jobs in America then outsourcing to Finland. Since that report rolled out last week, Fox has jumped on the issue with a story headlined "Federal Loan... for Finland?" Fox's Neil Cavuto jumped in to add that, two years after the payments to Fisker, "those jobs still are not here, they're in Finland." Attempts to turn the Fisker loan (not a grant) into a scandal have become entangled in Republican primary politics, with candidate Mitt Romney calling for an investigation and claiming that loans to both Fisker and Tesla were payback for political donations.

All of which conveniently ignores some important facts. Yes, Fisker's first model, the Karma plug-in hybrid sports car, is currently being assembled in Finland. However, the first $169 million in loans provided to Fisker were not for the assembly of the Karma. The loans went toward the design and engineering of the car, activities that took place at Fisker's Pontiac, MI headquarters.

The bulk of the loan for Fisker was provided not for the Karma, but to support the upcoming Nina model, which will be built at the company's new factory in Delaware starting in 2013. There are already 100 plant workers in Delaware employed by Fisker in preparation for the Nina and millions have been invested in preparing the Delaware assembly lines.

Two years after the initial loan to Fisker, there are certainly jobs in the U.S. that are directly attributable to the first part of the loan, and more coming when the Nina enters production. Far from being caught by surprise, the government was fully aware that Fisker intended to assemble the cars in Finland (and said so in press releases at the time). Both Fisker and the government worked to see that U.S. dollars stayed in the U.S. Fisker has stated that "not a single dollar" of the money it received from the government has been spent overseas. This hasn't stopped the media attacks, but Fisker if fighting back.

Officials and investors at Fisker have issued statements calling the ABC story inaccurate, stating that "Only private equity financing, of which we have raised over $600-million so far, has been used for costs not covered by the Department of Energy loans, of which only a small part is production costs in Finland... [The federal funds were] used soley in the U.S. to fund design, engineering and integration work." Meanwhile, Fisker workers are fighting back against the attacks by posting to Facebook. This tempest in a teacup doesn't look like it's going to cool down any time soon.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 112 Comments
      Dave
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is gonna be great PR for Fisker.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave
        Fisker has way more respect in the automotive community than the news agencies realize. All their attacks will do will galvanize his personal character and reputation, as he stands up to the muckslingers. I'm ashamed of the way the media is trying to spin the Fisker loans.
      Smith Jim
      • 3 Years Ago
      I can imagine the conversation of the Fox News editorial staff. Staffer #1: "The Fisker Karma gets lousy gas mileage in CS mode, 20 MPG and it's supposed to be a green car" Staffer #2: "Let's go with that story. It will kill the clean energy movement." Staffer #3: "It gets 52 MPGe in EV mode." Staffer #1: "A 400 horsepower sportscar that gets 52 MPGe? We can't talk about that." Staffer #3: "Actually, 52 MPGe is not that great compared to..." Staffer #2: "Compared to what?" Staffer #3: "Compared to the Volt which gets 94 MPGe." Staffer #1: "It would be disasterous to let the public know the Volt gets 94 MPGe. We need a different angle. Let's say that taxpayer money is being used to build a car in Finland." Staffer #3: "That's not true." Staffer #2: "You're fired! I love firing people. It makes me feel so powerful. Let's go with the false story. Our viewers aren't going to fact check us."
        EVnerdGene
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Smith Jim
        diarrhea in prose BTW, the Karma is built in Finland.
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          @EV :D
          Smith Jim
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          Of course the Karma is built in Finland. That's not the part this is a lie. The lie comes in when people ignore the fact that the DOE loan guarantee is for the production of the Fisker Nina and NOT the Karma. So the story that taxpayer money funded the Karma is a lie but Fox New viewers don't do any fact-checking and that's the truth.
          EVnerdGene
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          @Smith Jim You just said; "So the story that taxpayer money funded the Karma is a lie " FROM THE STORY ABOVE: " However, the first $169 million in loans provided to Fisker were not for the assembly of the Karma. The loans went toward the design and engineering of the car, activities that took place at Fisker's Pontiac, MI headquarters." So taxpayers did fund the Karma. A car that is or will be built in Finland. I don't see the lie in what ABC or ABG said.
        Nick
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Smith Jim
        Smith Jim nailed it. Fox has internal meetings, and they really do discuss which angle to use to put their own neo nazi spin on things. Remember the leaked memo asking hosts to call Healthcare overhaul "Obamacare" ? It's planned and scripted.
          EVnerdGene
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Nick
          Obama loved it. We really shoulda called it Teddy Kennedy care. He's the one that championed socialized health care, ever since his friend didn't get very good care after Chappaquiddick. No sh*t, can't make this stuff up.
      mazdamattyp5
      • 3 Years Ago
      lol republicans.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Typical of politically motivated news reports, the programs that aired raised the question of Finland up front, causing the outrage, but then toward the very end answered it with the clarifications cited above. That way, nobody can accuse Brian Ross of inaccuracies or lies, but... the innuendo had already started to snowball. Ironically, it may be in Fisker's best interest. Ultimately the truth will be known, and in the meantime the rumor has distracted consumers from the much more damning issues: its stealth mode of operation, the nearly two-year delay in production, the increase in price, and its lackluster EPA specs. Methinks Tesla has probably gained several more reservation holders who prefer to shift their deposits to the Model S, now that those specs are out.
        Grendal
        • 3 Years Ago
        But Tesla, by proxy, is also getting fallout from this.
      stas peterson
      • 3 Years Ago
      How much is your commission for this ass-licking charade in behalf of the exploitive fools at Fisker. Stop with the nonsense. It is highly unlikely that a startup car company can compete with one of the established auto companies. If it could have come to market with no competition like the Tesla did, it might have had a chance for a while. Bur now it will live for a year or three at the most, while the taxpayer's money disappears. Fisker's half assed engineering produced the Karma that gets miserable EPA mileage ratings compared to the Toyota's Prius, or Chevrolet's Volt. Plus its proposed price is several times what its major auto competitor's charge for the Toyota Prius or Chevrolet Volt. Dis I mention that it weighs over 2.5 tons, as well? Are you now or have you ever been a paid campaign worker for Mr. Obama?
        EVnerdGene
        • 3 Years Ago
        @stas peterson
        Hey Stas, I'll have to disagree. I think a start-up could stand a chance against established auto companies if they had a unique, sensation, somehow technological marvel, etc. etc. etc. Butt, Frisker does not. Aptera could have been successful. - They were going where none of the majors would have the cajones to follow.
        Nick
        • 3 Years Ago
        @stas peterson
        If we were to listen to the garbage from the whining "it's impossible" crowd, we would be living in the stone age. The same kind of people talked trash about space missions, and that the moon landing is impossible etc.. Fisker does not make tax money disappear. Oil imports and OIL SUBSIDIES do that, you f--ing blabbering Beck-worshipper. It never ceases to amaze me how gullible you weak minded are.
          Dave D
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Nick
          Nick, You forgot to mention that Stas, and all his buddies, had no problem with incentives to buy bloated, 6,000lb SUVs/Pickups...where they were actually ENCOURAGED to be over that 6,000lbs to get the subsidies! That's right, they are considered "farm vehicles" simply by intentionally bloating them up to weight even more. But for some reason, Stas and friends don't seem to have a problem with that.
      me
      • 3 Years Ago
      Dig deeper who own over 30% of ABC stock .. oh BP wake up !
      • 3 Years Ago
      The 'scandle' is more about whether the loans where given as political favors and also whether the companies that got all this money has been properly vetted. It was clear with Solyndra that staff within the administration raised several red flags. However orders came from the top to grant them loans despite that. I am all for giving loans to these companies that are able to create a product that will eventually lead to profits. Once profits come in more jobs will follow.
        Chris M
        • 3 Years Ago
        If high profits were certain, then there wouldn't be a need for government loans. By their nature, the government loan programs tend to be both high risk and high potential benefit.
        • 3 Years Ago
        further grants & loans were beacon power and the battery company behind the think electric vehicles. Something that bothers me more though is these things are all said and done. The money is gone. And now the president orders a review of all the loans and grants. At this point all we are doing is spending more money to 'review' these cases. How about we just review them properly before we make additional loans and grants in the future. Stop spending money on a report where we just point fingers and do it right next time.
      Levine Levine
      • 3 Years Ago
      Only in America where you can be a multi-millionaire by promising the government you'll create hypothetical jobs upon receiving millions of tax dollars free. It has become so pathetic it's like taking candy from a baby.
        me
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Levine Levine
        the fvk man can't you read?! godamn the report ABOVE this section just told you the fvkn truth ! I swear some people ( mostly teabaggeraholeslikeyou ) just want something the btch at or about. "Obama is an alien" "Global Warming is fake" smfh ... ugh
        amtoro
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Levine Levine
        How can you make people like these understand that these are not grants of "free money"? they are loans... LOANS... * L * O * A * N * S *... more precisely, low-interest loans. They are low interest because it is not the governments job to "make" jobs, but to promote activities that allow the creation and growth of industries that have a future and will create JOBS. Nobody can just say "hey, lets create a million jobs tomorrow! shall we?" Jobs come with the industry, the problem is that we have shifted the US workforce to services and retail instead of product manufacture, like in the past, and the jobs will take a long time to come. The low-interest loans are so, because the risk is low; the loans are insured and the fed. government would lose very little if the companies do not work, but that is a small price to pay for the risk of creating thousands of long lasting jobs. When you invest in government bonds, the dividends are tiny, that is because the risk is low and therefore, the return on investment is small; that return on investment is, on time, what the fed government will receive back when these companies pay back their loans. So, let's be Republican and try to make these companies fail, so the government does lose the expected return on its investment and jobs are never created! all to make a point, blame it on the President and gain the next election. How is what Cavuto and the Fox people are doing different from spreading rumors and promoting financial panic to make a bank fail?
          Grendal
          • 3 Years Ago
          @amtoro
          Don't know why you're getting voted down - that was well said. It's our money that's been spent so why should we be trying to bring Fisker down except to promote one party over the other?
          PR
          • 3 Years Ago
          @amtoro
          Grendal -- The reason why folks that make perfectly reasonable and intelligent green comments get voted down on a regular basis on the discussions here, is that ABG has attracted a bunch of folks who rarely if ever say anything positive about anything green. EVnerdGene is one of those individuals. Instead of talking about green issues they instead choke valuable green car discussion space with their non-green related repetitive posts and drive away people with actual interests in green cars. The voting here reflects how much the traditional green advocates of green cars have been driven away from this board by a handful of repetitious and petty bad actors.
          EVnerdGene
          • 3 Years Ago
          @amtoro
          " the loans are insured " by whom ? The taxpayer ? These are high-risk loans. If I went to the bank, and somehow got approved for such a loan; the interest rate would be astronomical. These companies can fail with or without the government's, or republican's help.
        EVnerdGene
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Levine Levine
        here here ! or is that hear hear ?
        Eideard
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Levine Levine
        You mean like General Dynamics and Grumman?
      Spiffster
      • 3 Years Ago
      The media are experts at piecing together, what would otherwise be facts, completely out of context to suit their agenda. Just watch any political advertisement, same deal... their only real purpose is to insult your intelligence.
        sirvixisvexed
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spiffster
        "Just watch any political advertisement, same deal... their only real purpose is to insult your intelligence." Haha that's what it feels like! Especially the smear ads!
          Spiffster
          • 3 Years Ago
          @sirvixisvexed
          I know, right? I would blindly vote for any politician that ran an honest campaign... I dont care how insane they are... fortunately this is something I would never have to worry about.
      carney373
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm a Republican and a Romney backer and I was embarrassed to get a fundraising pitch from Romney in my email inbox bashing Fisker and Tesla. Usually he's better than this.
      Raymond
      • 3 Years Ago
      Truth and republican don't go together now if you say hysteria, panic, anger or hate them your talking.
      WillieD
      • 3 Years Ago
      This still doesn't change the fact that a company that is assisted my U.S. taxpayers is currently building vehicles in another country.
        PR
        • 3 Years Ago
        @WillieD
        WillieD -- And US oil consumption is still enriching our enemies by many orders of magnitude more. It is funny what sets you people off. You are disturbed that even though not a single penny of US taxpayer dollars goes directly to another country, that because the company has some overseas operations with a US ally, you're still bothered. Meanwhile, you drive up to a gas pump, and fund the fungible oil market that is the major source of funds for enemies of the United States. Maybe you should re-think your priorities.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @WillieD
        What about Ford, GM, and Nissan?
          Fgergergrergr
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          WillieD Ford and Nissan got lager loans from this program, last time I checked they also have overseas production that have nothing to do with this particular loan also.
          WillieD
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          What about Ford and Nissan? I wasn't happy with the GM situation, but it happened...we don't have to keep throwing money at anything and everything we feel like.
          Dave D
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Why are people voting LTAW down for simply asking a factual question? So we just pretend things don't exist now if they don't fit our view of the world???
          inch5
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Thanks for reminding us that the USA tax payers are getting raped by not only Fisker, but also raped by Ford, Nissan. . .
        Fgergergrergr
        • 3 Years Ago
        @WillieD
        In June 2009, the DoE granted loans to three carmakers: Ford ($5.9 billion), Nissan ($1.6 billion, though it only ended up borrowing $1.4 billion), and Tesla ($365 million).
          invisibleblog
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Fgergergrergr
          And Nissan is using that loan to build up their factory in Tennessee to build the leaf. The Leaf, an honest and viable product with a future, unlike this Fisker Fiasco.
          Fgergergrergr
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Fgergergrergr
          And Fisker doesn't have plans to build the Nina in Delaware where they already bought an old GM plant?
          WillieD
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Fgergergrergr
          But Ford makes cars here and they are an established company...
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