Fisker Automotive
may not exactly be chummy with the U.S. federal government these days, but at least it's getting some love from the Middle East.

The California-based extended-range plug-in vehicle maker reached an agreement with Al-Futtaim Group to distribute its cars throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Al-Futtaim sells Lexus, Volvo, Jeep, Toyota and other vehicles throughout the Middle East. The distributor will open a Fisker dealership in Dubai this year.

As for the U.S. government, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), which has $193 million in loans out to Fisker, is working with Los Angeles-based investment bank and restructuring expert Houlihan Lokey to keep tabs of Fisker's attempts to raise its own cash, Bloomberg Businessweek reported, citing unnamed people familiar with the situation.

The DOE, in an e-mail to Bloomberg, copped to hiring consultants to tracking companies that have received its loans, but didn't specifically comment on Fisker. The DOE, which slated $529 million in loans for Fisker, froze the credit line after distributing less than $200 million because of production delays related to the Fisker Karma. Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA) and John Thune (R-SD) are among the members of Congress that have questioned the DOE's decision to grant a loan to Fisker.

Last week, ex-Fisker Chairman Ray Lane went as far as blaming Mitt Romney for the loan-distribution issues, saying that the Republican presidential candidate is using the issue for political gain. Meanwhile, Fisker is still deciding on whether it will use a former General Motors plant in Delaware to build its upcoming Atlantic (formerly Project Nina) sedan.
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Fisker Automotive Expands Reach in Middle East & North Africa

Anaheim, California USA – April 23, 2012: Fisker Automotive, the leading manufacturer of luxury Electric Vehicles with extended range (EVer™), announced today a significant expansion in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA).

The US automaker has signed an exclusive agreement with the Al-Futtaim Group, one of the region's most experienced automotive distributors, to build its sales presence in fast-growing markets for performance and luxury vehicles.

Henrik Fisker, executive chairman, said: "Fisker Automotive is committed to changing the automotive landscape globally, delivering a more sustainable future through our products. It's essential for us to compete strongly in the Middle East and Gulf region as the company expands outside America and extends its reach globally."

Fisker's luxury plug-in hybrid vehicles will be sold in key markets across the Middle East and North Africa through key retailer outlets operated by Al-Futtaim Group.

Al-Futtaim has more than 70 years of experience running automotive dealer networks and is a leading distributor for world-renowned brands across the MENA region, including Lexus, Volvo, Jeep, Toyota, Hino, Dodge, Honda, and Chrysler.

Len Hunt, President-Automotive, Al-Futtaim Group said: "We are excited to represent Fisker Automotive across the Gulf and MENA Region as exclusive distributors of the luxury plug-in hybrid brand. Al-Futtaim has built strength and credibility in delivering great customer experience through its well established automotive operations in Egypt and the GCC countries."

Fisker's expansion in the region will begin this year in the United Arab Emirates by utilizing Al-Futtaim's first regional flagship dealership at Dubai Festival City, a landmark destination located in Dubai.

Al-Futtaim and its network of experienced retailers will allow Fisker to reach customers in the U.A.E, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, and Egypt.

The distribution deal was facilitated by Michael Burke and Jordan L. Udko of Pacific Med Trade Inc., solidifying a long-term relationship that demonstrates Al-Futtaim Group's belief in the American automaker.

This is the latest step in the international rollout of Fisker's award-winning cars that started with the Fisker Karma sedan-the world's first luxury plug-in hybrid electric vehicle-and to be followed by the company's second vehicle, the Fisker Atlantic.

ABOUT AL-FUTTAIM AUTOMOTIVE

Al-Futtaim Automotive represents some of the world's most popular brands: Toyota, Lexus, Hino, Honda, Volvo, Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge, and is regarded as a pioneer in the region's automotive industry responsible for four out of every ten cars on the UAE roads. Offering customers convenience, choice, and the highest standards of after-sales service through its comprehensive network of showrooms, service and parts distribution centres in the UAE, Al-Futtaim has also built strength and reputation for excellence for passenger and commercial vehicles, construction equipment, used car sales, rental and leasing in almost all countries in the Gulf and MENA regions, and the sub-continent. Established in the 1930s, the Al-Futtaim Group is structured into seven operational divisions: Automotive, Engineering, Electronics & Technology, Retail, Financial Services, General Services, Real Estate, and Joint Ventures. Today, Al-Futtaim operates through more than 65 companies in sectors as diverse as commerce, industry, and services, and employs in excess of 20,000 people across the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Singapore, Malaysia, and Europe.

ABOUT PACIFIC MED TRADE INC.

Pacific Med Trade Inc. (PMT) is a strategic consulting, public relations and investment advisory firm. Founded in 2005 by Dr. Ayman Kandeel, PMT's principals assist clients in identifying unique opportunities, leveraging business and financial transactions, and in brand management. PMT structures value enhancements for its clients in various sophisticated transactions. PMT specializes in managing relationships on the ground for its clients, particularly in the MENA and GCC regions. www.PacificMedTrade.com

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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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 19 Comments
      Maddoxx
      • 2 Years Ago
      Tax dollars used so rich Sultans and business men in the middle east can have their exotic cars.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Maddoxx
        The opposite actually. The tax dollars have been cut off so they are seeking private financing.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Maddoxx
        I know, I would rather have them buy BMWs , Ferrari and Mercedes. Shame they would have to buy an American product. BTW, a loan is not free money.
      brotherkenny4
      • 2 Years Ago
      This administration and the DOE have to get over the fact that there will be people opposed to whatever they do. You really can't expect that the right wing will stop making ridiculous assertions, because they don't have control of all of the government, and are trying to win the next election. You will not get more votes by aquiesing. The people who are susceptible to the rhetoric of Thune and Grassley are not people who you could have rational discourse with. I would just do the right thing and then just state the facts about Thune and Grassley arguments, which is they are politicians trying to manipulate weak minded individuals who have no rational thought processes. Remember, these are people who believe the right is fiscally responsible, despite all evidence to the contrary. These are people who say they care about the country, but intend us to continue to fund the terrorists through oil money. These are people who say they believe in freedom, but at every turn are trying to influence what you do in the privacy of your own home. They want to tell you what you can and can not do with your life. Thune and Grassley are prime examples of the insanity of the right. The double speak abounds.
      • 2 Years Ago
      It’s all Mutt Romney’s fault? I guess that’s a variation of the “it’s all George W. Bush’s fault.” Regardless, Romney, as far as has been reported, had nothing to do with the idea of the car company, Fisker, or the design of the car, or the naming [Karma], or the loan or the granting of the loan. As far as is known, the company is, in some way, affiliated with BIG AL (Al Gore). On its face, it sounded like a harebrained scheme to guarantee loans over $500 million to a company which was going to produce a $90,000 all electric car in Finland. There might be a reason for the U.S. taxpayer to guarantee such a loan, but the reason is not readily apparent.
        Chris M
        • 2 Years Ago
        The "Advanced Vehicle Technology Manufacturing" loan program is from a law, supported by Republicans and signed by President Bush before he left office. The intent of the law was to promote the production of alternatively fueled vehicles here in the US, the loan money cannot and is not used for overseas manufacturing, and that includes Finland. The loan is to be used to renovate a US manufacturing plant to produce a new Fisker model, delays in the Fisker plans have caused a delay in disbursing funds from that loan.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      Big? check. Gaudy? check. Expensive? check. Sounds perfect for an Oil shiek / upper income middle easterner, right? But that electricity is so expensive. I'm sure they're tired of importing coal from nations that are hostile to them.. lol
      Letstakeawalk
      • 2 Years Ago
      They must have really perked up when they saw Beiber's chromed Karma... :D It's great to see Fisker expanding their market presence.
        Marco Polo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        @Letstakeawalk They must have really perked up when they saw Beiber's chromed Karma... :D I don't know about the middle east, but in Southern California and Miami, there are rich dealers in other monopoly resources, that may love Beiber's 'bling' colour scheme. Asian orders for Karma already include gold leaf accessories. One rap star has taken his Karma to be fitted with solid gold and diamond encrusted accessories.
      • 2 Years Ago
      "ex-Fisker Chairman Ray Lane went as far as blaming Mitt Romney for the loan-distribution issues" Seriously? He's not even in office. Could it be a bad business model is to blame? Nahhhhh
      Marco Polo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Houlihan Lokey have a solid reputation, but the article is unclear as to who hired them. If Fisker hired Houlihan Lokey to improve it's financial position, then it's quite proper for the DOE, to work with Houlihan Lokey as Fisker appointed financial advisor's. But for the DOE to decide after granting the loan, to appoint a third party private bank to ' Track' the affairs of it's borrower, without consent, or a default, is fraught with ethical and legal issues. Interesting issues, but without more details it's all just speculation.
        throwback
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marco Polo
        But for the DOE to decide after granting the loan, to appoint a third party private bank to ' Track' the affairs of it's borrower, without consent, or a default, is fraught with ethical and legal issues." Depends on the conditions of the loan. When you are on the government dole, there are all sorts of conditions.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marco Polo
        The Bloomberg article seems to state that the DoE hired Houlihan Lokey. “To ensure the strongest possible management of its portfolio, the department’s loan program often hires industry- leading consultants to supplement the work performed by experts in the program,” the Energy Department said in an e-mailed statement that didn’t comment on Fisker. “In October 2011, the department contracted with Houlihan Lokey to provide expert assistance on a variety of projects in the portfolio.” Having an independent auditor was a condition of the Loan Agreement. The DoE reserved the privilege to hire representatives to protect their interests by examining all project documentation as well as physical assets. I don't think Fisker has made any objection to this oversight - they consented to it (p25, Sec. 27, lines (aa) and (bb)) in the Conditional Loan Agreement. http://www.lgprogram.energy.gov/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/FiskerConditionalCom.pdf
          Marco Polo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          @Letstakeawalk Like I said, the article contains a lot of speculation. An independent auditor is one thing. Hiring a 'consultant who may well have a conflict of interest, or even be hired to validate an political agenda to change borrowing policies is quite another. But, I'm just speculating.
      EVnerdGene
      • 2 Years Ago
      A few days ago, some of you were saying Frisker recently raised $300-something million in new financing. If so, why don't they just tell the DOE - "we don't need your crummy money you have to borrow from China" Here's a novel idea: Borrow from the sultans, shieks and such that crave your car. Nuff said, STFU and move-on.
        Marco Polo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EVnerdGene
        EVnerdGene Fisker may lose out on the market for Sultans as they don't build RHD. Only the Sultan of Oman is in a LHD, country, Brunei Darussalam, and Malaysia, are RHD. :) ( Indonesia is a republic).
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