A123 Systems has had to lay off 125 employees at two Michigan locations because of Fisker's lengthy delay getting the Karma luxury plug-in hybrid to market. That's the bad news. The potentially good news is that the layoffs may be temporary. Even though Fisker has reduced its 2011 Karma orders to 1,500 units from 7,000, once Fisker is back on track to reach its stated goal of selling 15,000 vehicles in 2012, the workers may be called back in six months of less. Jason Forcier, vice president and general manager of automotive solutions at A123, told Crains Detroit that, "We're basically aligning our workforce with that reduction in orders from Fisker. We had to take some action to get our costs in line, but we believe it to be temporary, and we'll bring those people back as Fisker works through some inventory."

A123 has lithium-ion battery contracts with over 20 transportation-related companies (details here), so a setback at one doesn't imply a serious problem for the whole company. Still, big news events like the NHTSA Chevy Volt fire can hurt the plug-in vehicle industry – and A123 does have a contract with General Motors to co-develop lithium-ion batteries for upcoming electric vehicles.


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  • 51 Comments
      LiteNRG1
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hopefully no one from Fox News seen this article.
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @LiteNRG1
        i know, because dick Cheney and haliburton and ivory towers with Chimpy McHitler (I love how my iPad auto corrects that) and big insurance wall street bankers!
      EZEE
      • 3 Years Ago
      @spiff It also causes the stuff like what the investment houses did. If they know they will be bailed out, why not be more risky? Greater chance of big return, but if you fail, meh. Hold your hand out. There have been more bailouts than people think. Many times emergency financial aid to a country is so they can pay back....who? Goldman Sachs. Or one of the others. Look at the Mexican bail out odd about....mmmm 15 years ago, or the Korean bailout.... No effing bailouts...
      EZEE
      • 3 Years Ago
      ithinking have nothing against CEO pay - especially for those like Steve jobs and Alan mullaly. That said, privatize profit and socialize losses - that is NOT capitalism, and if you ever want me to scream it to any other right wingers, feel free to ask and I will. On an objectivist web site (ayn rand's thing), they actually have a t-shirt that says exactly that (about that not being capitalism). Bailouts seem to cross party lines, however, with tragic results...
      Letstakeawalk
      • 3 Years Ago
      Temporary workforce reductions are regrettable, but they are a necessary evil. The Karma delays resulted from a variety of problems; the EPA, the tannery situation, the problem getting other supplier's products (such as paint)... those problems are being worked out, and production is ramping back up. "Our relationship with Fisker remains strong, and we expect that this reduction in volume is temporary as we understand the Karma plug-in hybrid electric vehicle has received EPA certification as well as an all-electric range rating of 51.6 miles from the European regulatory body Technischer Ueberwachungs Verein (TUV), clearing the way for vehicles sales. We are executing a plan that we believe will manage costs in the near term while allowing us to maintain the manufacturing and operational capabilities required to quickly ramp up production." A123 anticipates being back in normal production quantities by the second quarter of 2012. And the great news is, even though they're having this temporary issue, their overall revenue growth is up from 2010 by 70 to 85%. http://gigaom.com/cleantech/fisker-wont-ramp-up-volume-of-karmas-until-q2-2012/?utm_source=broadband&utm_medium=specialtopics
        Letstakeawalk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        ION, the Karma is dead center on the cover of Top Gear Magazine, picked as "Luxury Car of the Year"! http://www.topgear.com/uk/car-news/top-gear-magazine-awards-issue-out-now-2011-11-30
      Marco Polo
      • 3 Years Ago
      This should serve as an eyeopener to all those anti-corporate, anti-GM etc posters. When large Corporations stagger, the effects are hardship and some times bankruptcy throughout the entire supply train. Millions of lives are effected. Those who gloat at the failure of US Icons, may feel the harsh wind of economic recession without being directly involved. The healthier US Industry, the more money is available for education, infrastructure, civic programs, health-care, restructure and housing. Everything is inter-connected!
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Marco Polo
        You are extremely deluded if you think your US corporations give a damn about American people. Please keep fantasizing till US becomes another Mexico.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Marco Polo
        Socialize the losses, privatize the gains.. you really think the public benefits.. when CEO pay keeps skyrocketing in relation to what workers get paid?
      Jim McL
      • 3 Years Ago
      Funny the article mentions the fire in a crash tested Chevy Volt. I wish that every time they talk about that, they would run the news about the number of gas car fires during the last week in which people were injured. There are maybe ten deaths from car fires a week, and many more in home fires. http://www.ci.savannah.ga.us/cityweb/FireWeb.nsf/0/28e0bc9b744079aa85256b91007b2edd?OpenDocument And isn't A123's cell the most safe one on the market? If Chevy had gone with A123 there probably would have been no Volt fires.
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      A123 has had a bit of a stock jump in the past couple days. I think they are benefiting from the GM Volt fire scare . . . perhaps with good reason. But I still worry about A123 getting their costs down. Without getting prices down low enough, EVs just won't sell very well. At least they won't sell until oil prices get high enough to get people to say "uncle".
        Dave R
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Heh, look at this crush test comparing LG to A123 cells: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCHmD6U1x8A A123 does a lot better than the LG cell! Of course, these are not the same as what's used in the Volt, but one can wonder...
      DB
      • 3 Years Ago
      A123 laying off its US workforce might have more to do with it focusing on its five factories in China and one in Korea than it does with a drop in demand: http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/09/a123-batteries-slated-for-chinese-electric-car/ http://www.finfacts.ie/irishfinancenews/article_1019781.shtml
      • 3 Years Ago
      Another example of corporate greed hitting the common man below the belt. My heart goes out to the poor men left aground in this harsh economy.
      Marco Polo
      • 3 Years Ago
      @2WM The government didn't bail out GM or any other corporation altruistically. It did so to prevent a chain reaction collapse of the economy, created in large part by government policies. CEO's get paid what the shareholders think they are worth. Like all very highly paid people, they are only paid a tiny fraction of the funds they manage or generate. The market for CEO's is International, and like sporting teams the best players get the most. Keep knocking US enterprise and one day you will be trying to scratch a living working for a PRC corporation, then you will really know poverty and injustice!
      Peter
      • 3 Years Ago
      typo: the workers may be called back in six months OR less.
      Spiffster
      • 3 Years Ago
      "privatize profit and socialize losses - that is NOT capitalism" Amen to that... this is whats driving the middle class into the ground while the wealthy benefit.
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