• Jan 14, 2013
Fisker Automotive is aggressively courting Chinese automakers to bail it out of its financial problems.

Executives with knowledge of the discussions told Autoblog that Fisker representatives have made recent trips to China to discuss deals that include capital investment and outright acquisition scenarios. Those discussions are continuing this week at the Detroit Auto Show. Reuters first reported discussions between Fisker and Chinese companies.

While Fisker was once favored by many auto industry analysts and executives to get the better of rival Tesla Motors in the premium/luxury EV market, Fisker has had several setbacks to its operations. The launch of the Fisker Karma, the company's first model, has been beset with problems, as is often the case with a new car company. Its lithium-ion battery supplier, A123 Systems, went bankrupt. And the company lost hundreds of cars at its Newark port when Hurricane Sandy devastated the New Jersey-New York coastline last fall.

In addition to needing investors, Fisker is also seeking strategic partners. Tesla, which had a successful initial public offering, for example, has both Toyota and Mercedes-Benz as investors and strategic partners.
euters reported that Fisker has held substantive talks with China Grand Automotive
Services Co, a large dealership group that already has an agreement to distribute Fisker cars in China. Also mentioned by Reuters is Wanxiang Group, a Hangzhou-based major producer of automotive components that last month won an auction for A123.

Fisker has one product on the market now, the Karma plug-in hybrid, whose price tag starts at around $103,000. It has a second car in the works, the Atlantic, which is likely to start at about $55,000. Fisker received Department of Energy loans specifically earmarked to get a U.S. plant established to build the Atlantic. The total amount of the DOE loan was $329 million, of which $190 has been drawn down. However, the DOE has barred Fisker from taking additional funds in large part because of its otherwise shaky financial picture. Fisker needs about $150 million in additional funds to complete development of the Atlantic.

Interest by Chinese companies derives from a national goal in China of putting 500,000 EV or plug-in cars on the road by 2015, and five million by 2020.

One of the obvious outcomes for Fisker, if the company can make the sale to investors, is to partner up with an established automaker such as Volkswagen Group or General Motors to not only tap into those larger companies' economies of scale, but to take the Fisker and intellectual properties and tap into a potential market for luxury EVs among the China elite.

One thing is for certain: If Fisker, which has not built a car in six months, doesn't get cash or a partner, or both, pretty soon, the company will be lights out.

Or, could the Karma at least have a life as a non EV? Former General Motors vice chairman Bob Lutz is showing a modified Karma outfitted with the V8 engine from the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 instead of the extended-range electric powertrain it was born with. The car, shown at this week's Detroit Show, is called the VL Automotive Destino, the brainchild of Lutz and industrialist Gilbert Villereal, and is intended to compete with such well-regarded performance four doors as the Porsche Panamera and Aston Martin Rapide.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 24 Comments
      EVnerdGene
      • 1 Year Ago
      So if the Chinese buy Frisker, will the ATVM loan be paid back immediately ? If smart, that would have been written into the DOE loan docs.
        Grendal
        • 1 Year Ago
        @EVnerdGene
        Sounds like a smart move to me too. It should have happened with A123 as well since they were sold off to a Chinese company.
      Matthew Miles
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Model S is the king. Long live the Model S
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Matthew Miles
        [blocked]
          Grendal
          • 1 Year Ago
          Or Tesla survives to flourish and you are wrong.
          EVSUPERHERO
          • 1 Year Ago
          Pigs really do... I saw it on a commercial.
          • 1 Year Ago
          [blocked]
      Kevin Gregerson
      • 1 Year Ago
      The problem is based primarily on Quantum who's exec's are serious problems on themselves. The Qdrive system still hasn't been officially fixed for the heat issues it suffers. It's been patched.... Fixed and patched are two different things. The Fix would cost about 500-1500 dollars per car. After that, it would be easy to recommend it. Also for the price of a Fisker, I could get a Volt and a Tesla.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Kevin Gregerson
        What heat issues?
        Doug
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Kevin Gregerson
        Not sure what specific issues you're talking about, but I've never had much faith in (the inappropriately named) Quantum Technologies. Fisker should have started with a better partner.
          Q-Driver
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Doug
          A better partner? Quantum was a cofounder of Fisker Auto, but provided Fisker with their technology guts. There would be no Fisker without Quantum. And to date, not a single issue with the Karma has been due to Quantum's Q Drive. The fires were due to battery (A123) or non Quantum components. Now the Quantum solar roof was always a gee wiz gimick... but the Q-Drive has proven itself. Back in Nov Fisker hired Quantum for some redesign work on the Karma. Can't wait to see the Karma 2.0.
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Doug
          Quantum might have been a perfect name . . . you never quite knew what the system would do, you could only calculate probabilities. ;-)
        Rodney
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Kevin Gregerson
        Well, first of all, you don't want a volt. It is a Ford and Ford don't make good cars. Second, you could get a Tesla indeed! I just hope Fiskar survives. A little competition will lower the price of these vehicles. As for Fiskars management group, this clueless trash should all be taken out and shot! Oh, look, the brakes need some re-engineering, where is my million dollar paycheck? Oh, and there, the engine overheats and needs a fix, wait, where is my million dollar paycheck? And on, and on it goes. No alliegence, just corporate greed.
      diffrunt
      • 1 Year Ago
      Move to China , stay there.
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      Fisker is toast. It was always a long-shot proposition . . . but then things got worse & worse. Delays, terrible specs for the car, Consumer Reports review debacle, Nina/Atlantic on hold, etc. And then the death knell . . . burning cars. One car was a fluke. Two cars was worrying. And then when a bunch of cars burned up due to Sandy . . . . that was it. I just can't see them recovering.
      vi_per
      • 1 Year Ago
      I really hope to see Fiskar succeed. No other major car manufacturer, despite their huge R&D and other resources are doing anything to increase the technology and adaptation of alternative fuel powered vehicles. The major brands are merely milking the market for profits with their brand and focusing on power and luxury. All of which are good for profits but neither good for the environment nor consumers who pay huge sums for gas. Good for Henrik Fiskar who had the vision and guts to create something that looks great and has good technology. Unfortunately the technology is still expensive and the EV infrastructure is not there. Thanks to the lobbyists. The government, the major car manufacturers (GM, Ford), and the oil producers (Exxon, Chevron) are all in bed together and milking the public for profits.
      Marcopolo
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Fisker-Karma is a perfect Auto-manufacturer for an Asian or Middle-eastern investor. The product as some greenish credit, looks like a prestige European marque, and owned by an American company. Another advantage is that Fisker is clearly not Japanese. Asian investors understand the enormous difficulty in entering the prestige market with a home built product. (even domestically) so Fisker would be a very economical method of jumping a few steps. Hopefully, more capital and access to a more sympathetic market, will secure a future for this misunderstood marque.
        EVnerdGene
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Marcopolo
        Asian investor ? Maybe an Aussie should scoop them up.
          Brodz
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          Us Aussies are too tight for that. Besides, we like to make our money getting ripped off just we can get recognition. Like our dutch disease resources. We also don't support our car manufacturers.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Marcopolo
        Well Marco, put your money where you mouth is. I wouldn't touch this with a 20 foot fire-proof insulated pole.
      whofan
      • 1 Year Ago
      Bad Karma?
      Brodz
      • 1 Year Ago
      I hope GM or Ford can take them under their wing. Both could benefit from the technology there. Ford especially.
        Rodney
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Brodz
        Oh come on! GM and Ford have trashed more cars than the Yugo company.....Now Chrysler, there's the ticket!
    • Load More Comments