Fisker Automotive and its pending federal government loan has spurred a letter from two U.S. senators to Energy Secretary Steven Chu questioning the appropriateness of the loan, The Detroit News reports.
In their letter to Chu, senators John Thune (R-South Dakota) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) reportedly question the $529 million loan in part because of Qatar's ownership stake in the plug-in hybrid automaker. The senators also inquired about the loan earmarked for Fisker partner A123 Systems, the company whose batteries have been subject to a recall.
Fisker spokesman Roger Ormisher tells The Detroit News that the company is staying out of politics and focusing on creating U.S. jobs. California-based Fisker was granted the loan in 2010 but has drawn down just $193 million to date.
Energy Department spokesman Damien LaVera argues the loan was an appropriate part of the federal government's effort to help boost fleetwide fuel economy and said Fisker's delays are "common for start-ups," according to the report.
Last week, Fisker debuted its first national advertising campaign in a multi-page Wall Street Journal ad that included a statement from company founder Henrik Fisker proclaiming that the automaker has "set out to redefine and reshape how the world thinks about cars." Fisker also recently widened its European distribution network.
Upon securing the original loan grant, Fisker was slated to hire 2,000 people at a Delaware factory that was formerly run by General Motors. Production of the Fisker Atlantic shown above, which was originally scheduled to be produced at the Delaware plant, has been delayed until at least 2014.