This isn't good. The Associated Press is reporting that Fisker Automotive has stopped production of the Fisker Karma (UPDATE: Not true, says Fisker PR: "We are currently producing 20-25 Karmas a day and will continue to do so.") and laid off 26 Delaware employees and 40 contractors in California. The carmaker is reportedly looking to conserve cash while attempting to renegotiate loans granted by the Department of Energy. (UPDATE: We have gotten a statement from Fisker about the situation, which you can read after the jump. The Karma is not mentioned, just work on the Delaware plant, which is supposed to build the Nina one day.

Fisker originally signed on for a $529 million loan, of which only $193 million has been received. Fisker reportedly cannot get at the remaining funds, which are earmarked for the delayed Nina project, because the automaker failed to meet Karma sales targets that were a condition of the loan. A few days ago, Fisker lowered its sales expectations for the $100,000 Karma to a still very lofty 10,000 units in 2012.

Fisker spokesman Roger Ormisher told the AP that the automaker is hoping for a speedy resolution to its cash crunch. We hope so too, or Fisker could be in a heap of trouble.
Show full PR text

FISKER AUTOMOTIVE STATEMENT REGARDING DELAWARE ASSEMBLY AND PROJECT NINA
ANAHEIM, CA – February 6, 2012

The following media information is being provided to address timing changes surrounding Project Nina, Fisker Automotive's line of premium Electric Vehicles with extended range (Ever) scheduled to be built in Wilmington, Delaware.

• Fisker Automotive's product strategy is to first and foremost establish strong Karma sales worldwide in 2012 and generate a strong business, and then to plan for the introduction of Nina at Delaware Assembly with the help of a loan from the DOE or other sources.

• With Karma we have made tremendous progress in a very short amount of time, developing and launching an all-new luxury plug-in hybrid Electric Vehicle with extended range (EVer) that is taking the auto industry in a new direction.

• With Project Nina, we have completed Phase One of the re-commissioning of a former General Motors plant in Wilmington, Delaware.

• We have temporarily delayed work at the plant based on ongoing discussions with the DOE regarding funding for the Project Nina program. As a result, we have laid-off 26 people.

• A flex model of expanding and contracting staffing for development of new cars is routine in the automotive industry. Project Nina is already well-advanced. Much of the engineering, design and development is near complete and we expect to ramp up operations again quickly.

• To date we have received $193m of the $529m DOE loan, mostly for the Karma (K) program, and received our last reimbursement in May 2011. We are renegotiating some terms of the DOE agreement for the $336m balance of the loan related to the Project Nina program

• Fisker Automotive is in the middle of discussions with the DOE, however Fisker has been, and continues to pursue, alternative funding sources. We have successfully raised an additional $260 million of equity in late 2011, bringing the total amount of private equity financing to more than $850 million.

ABOUT FISKER AUTOMOTIVE, INC.
Fisker Automotive is an American car company, founded in 2007, committed to producing electric vehicles with extended range (EVer) that deliver uncompromised responsible luxury. The company is designing and developing the world's first line of premium electric plug-in hybrids representing the company's firm belief that environmentally conscious cars need not sacrifice passion, style, or performance. Fisker Automotive is a global company that is redefining luxury for the modern sports car buyer. For more information on the brand and the Fisker Karma Sedan, please go to http://fiskerautomotive.com.


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  • 117 Comments
      Car Guy
      • 2 Years Ago
      I will actually give the government some credit on this one. Fisker set a lofty goal, didn't meet it, and now the government is holding their feet to the fire and withholding the funds. BTW - they will sell 10,000 cars in 2012? hahahahahaha. My bet is 1000.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Car Guy
        [blocked]
          MTN RANGER
          • 2 Years Ago
          Wrong. It was built into the government loan documents that Fisker had to reach a certain amount of Karma sales before additional tranches of loan money become available.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          It'd be interesting the figures before jumping to that conclusion. I'm sure Fisker failed to meet their milestones. Now, in easier times they could find a way to get most of the money anyway by resetting the bar. But it's possible because this is an election year that they aren't getting any slack. It's also possible Fisker's financials look so bad that they giving them more loans doesn't make sense because it doesn't seem likely they will be able to repay them or even their current ones. I personally would suggest the latter is very likely. This is a company that by all accounts has sold perhaps 100 or 200 cars tops with little prospect for selling more because their product isn't competitive on anything but looks. Opening that Delaware plant makes little sense, they won't use that much production anyway. And thus giving them money to open the Delaware plant wouldn't make sense either.
        johnb
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Car Guy
        Yeah the 10,000 car number is funny! I think it'll be closer to 200 units. Most of those will be props for movies and/or celebrity red carpet displays of green-ness.
          Gubbins
          • 2 Years Ago
          @johnb
          Yes, I'm sure we'll see Ed Begley Jr and Larry David rolling up in Fisker sleds...
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Car Guy
        [blocked]
      Making11s
      • 2 Years Ago
      I can understand every criticism of the Karma. I probably agree with most of them. That said, the DOE loans were for not for the Karma. They are so Fisker can produce a relatively inexpensive vehicle at an old GM plant in Delaware.
        axiomatik
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Making11s
        So nice to finally see a commentor that actually knows what they are talking about.
      Christian L.
      • 2 Years Ago
      How bout we give DOE less budget if they keep lending to companies like this. DOE is just like Banks who keep lending to people who can't aford to pay back to begin with.
        FreeThinker
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Christian L.
        So what should we do about the billions of government dollars lent, granted, and subsidized to Big Oil, natural gas, and the railroad industries? Should we ask for all that back too? And give up all the jobs that come with those industries? What do you suggest?
      Wonky
      • 2 Years Ago
      It would be nice if businesses could start up small and grow without needing and risking public funds to do so. In the modern world all nations subsidize their businesses to some extent to get them ahead of the rest, so in that regard I understand this, but still a $100,000 car seems utterly unrealistic and elitist and completely out of touch with those affording the tax bill. Just think, you are subsidizing rich idiots like deCraplio to ouzz out of this car in front of the cameras. I say let them fail and only subsidize projects that are good for the most of us.
      cashsixeight
      • 2 Years Ago
      This company should have received the billions of free money, instead of GM. It wouldn't be tied to anything, and with GM gone there'd be a huge gaping hole for innovative, attractive products. Keeping GM alive was a huge mistake.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @cashsixeight
        [blocked]
          • 2 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          Think Free
          • 2 Years Ago
          Capt, you are buying the lie that it was Obama bailout or nothing (loss of jobs etc) they should have gone BK to reorg. They could have broke union contracts and legacy costs and come out stronger. Obama was simply taking care of his biggest contributors UAW. Many private investors were screwed but not UAW.
          Think Free
          • 2 Years Ago
          Capt I hear you on the UAW member- workers. I would take as much as I could too- its the American way ! I work with UAW and non union plants though and besides the pay/ benefit difference there is a huge difference in attitude and work ethic. I would show a product to help productivity to a GM group and the engineers would tell me that their works would be angry if it helped them save hours or work. I have seen people literally sleeping in a chair on the shop floor. The UAW has been promoting this behavior for years.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          Think Free: There's a flaw in your argument. GM's largest shareholder was the UAW. When the company goes into reorganization, the board is not going to vote to screw their own organization. They did dump a lot of legacy costs other than union contracts. Captain Spadaro: If the key to chumminess with the auto unions is the rank and file, why was VW throwing sex parties and shopping trips for union leaders? http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jan/13/germany.automotive You seem to have an idea of European bliss that doesn't connect with reality.
          • 2 Years Ago
          [blocked]
        Gubbins
        • 2 Years Ago
        @cashsixeight
        That overpriced slug is "innovative/attractive"? In the absence of GM how long do you think Fisker's development curve would be before they took up the market slack? Fisker can't even get one car properly developed, and YOU think they can make up for the demise of GM? Keeping GM alive is vastly wiser than the life-support system for the pie-in-the-sky Fisker dreamers. You speak total nonsense.
      johnb
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think we (The US taxpayer) should write them a blank check. It worked so well for GM.
      Smiley
      • 2 Years Ago
      Just more proof EV cars are still a flop. This technology, while noble in theory, is being shoved down our throats thanks to environmental fringe thinking becoming mainstream. The technology to make these cars economically viable (i.e. without intense government backing) is still way off. I am all for improving efficiency and lessening impact on the environment, within reason. You can't go from one extreme (4MPG cars) to the other extreme (50MPG+ cars). There needs to be a healthy balance. Government mandated CAFE standards and the like are absurd. If you ever wonder why inflation on automobiles is so outrageous look no further than Uncle Sam. In the name of going Green automakers are forced to use expensive technology that actually makes cars run worse. Diesel engines are a great example. Now a loaded diesel pickup truck is around $70k. The Fisker was a cool concept, but obviously too good to be true. How about encouraging automakers to increase fuel efficiency through tax (and other) incentives instead of forcing them to meet ridiculous requirements in a very short time. These crazy requirements are driving the cost of new cars through the roof.
        FreeThinker
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Smiley
        I understand your point, and agree with a little of what you say, but this really isn't a 100% pure EV car. It is a plug-in hybrid. That was part of their plan. You still need gasoline to operate it in real world traffic conditions. Cafe standards are not absurd. 10mpg tin cans with lapbelts, drum brakes, and no airbags may be more profitable, but are no longer good for America in mass volume. How would you address fuel conservation? Just have everyone burn up all the fuel they wanted?
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Smiley
        [blocked]
          • 2 Years Ago
          [blocked]
        axiomatik
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Smiley
        Auto inflation is a delusion. Adjusted for general inflation, modern cars offer way more performance and technology at a lower price than older cars. In 1995, the Nissan 300ZX twin-turbo cost $40,000. That's $56,000 today. And yet the 370Z costs $32k, makes 10% more power, and gets 17% better fuel economy.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Smiley
        [blocked]
      Think Free
      • 2 Years Ago
      What a beautiful piece of crap. 0-60 in 7, 24 mpg ? So glad we all invested in this. Its the rolling solyndra !
      sullairman
      • 2 Years Ago
      Another waste of taxpayer money. They can't sell these cars, who in their right mind would pay $100,000 fopr a car with very limited usability. This "GREEN INDUSTRY " is a useless waste of our money. It and the entire, lefty, We have the technology to manufactuer hydrogen cell vehcles which will cost less to build less to run and be cleaner thatn electric cars so why has our president stopped both GM and Ford from working on this product developement for cars that can onl;y go 40 miles on a charge of battery?
        FreeThinker
        • 2 Years Ago
        @sullairman
        I'm not a big fan of Obama, but tell us how has "our president stopped both GM and Ford from working on this product developement for cars that can onl;y go 40 miles on a charge of battery?" How? The fact is he didn't. The Volt is in production. Nice car too.
        cpmanx
        • 2 Years Ago
        @sullairman
        Wait a sec--you think electric cars are a scam, but you favor fuel-cell cars that would require a trillion-dollar hydrogen infrastructure (rather than a grid that already exists)...and that use hydrogen that would probably be derived from coal and natural gas anyway. Please go back and do a little more research about the technology.
      Think Free
      • 2 Years Ago
      If I had the money I would buy on , rip out the EV crap and put is a ZR1 V8.
      FreeThinker
      • 2 Years Ago
      A 3-month delay? In the auto industry? Big deal. Accepting full responsibility upfront for a quality recall, owning the problem immediately, and resolving it in 3 weeks? THAT IS UNPRECEDENTED IN THE AUTO INDUSTRY. Excellent work, Fisker. Take a lesson here, Toyota. I doubt any of the negative commentors here could have fixed such a problem it in 6 months. Show me a new company that makes no mistakes. Only if they aren't doing any work. Oh, and Delaware was chosen because that's were the retired GM plant was located. Fisker re-opened it to produce their next line-up. Not because of Biden. So take it easy. Fisker has hit a few potholes in the early stages of their journey. Doesn't mean they need to throw their hands up in the air. Already too many people here fulfilling that role. Try patience. This too shall pass.
        FreeThinker
        • 2 Years Ago
        @FreeThinker
        Comparing apples to oranges, Rotation. This is not a high-volume, mid-class Audi. It is, by design, an opinion-polarizing boutique design house, low-volume luxury car.
        Rotation
        • 2 Years Ago
        @FreeThinker
        Taking responsibility for a quality recall and owning the problem immediately are not unprecedented at all in the auto industry. Resolving it in 3 weeks is unusual, but then again most other automakers have to deal with the issue that they have sold a lot of cars. Fisker has very few cars in the field, so fixing them can be done rather rapidly. You can replace a battery pack in a car in your warehouse in 2 hours. Once the car is sold, it'll take days just to truck a pack to a customer (you can't air ship it!).
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Rotation
          Other companies are doing all 3 at once, it just takes more time to get the cars back. When Audi recalled my car (3 times!) they had to wait to take the cars back until the replacement parts were built. It takes time to make tens of thousands of replacement fuel sensors. Fisker doesn't have any of these issues because they built so few cars and possibly their suppliers also were geared up to produce more cars than they actually are taking parts for because they are not meeting sales projections.
          FreeThinker
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Rotation
          Yes, but DOING ALL 3 at once IS unprecedented. That is my point. Kudos to Fisker.
      darkness
      • 2 Years Ago
      Scam and hope to see these crooks clanking cups in a jail cell.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @darkness
        [blocked]
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