Bright Automotive is closing operations after loan roadblock

Article by Anita Panait, on March 3, 2012

Bright Automotive is folding its operations, no thanks to an excessively tedious and lengthy loan-approval process which stomped the company’s ability to stay afloat, the Wall Street Journal reports. Bright Automotive announced Tuesday that it was withdrawing its application for a $314 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy. Indiana-based Bright Automotive first sought a $450 million funding from the DOE's $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program in December 2008, to finance the construction of a plant and develop its electric vehicles. The company later cut the request to $314 million but until now has yet to receive any approval from DOE.

According to New York Times, the company's loan request had been under review for more than three years. In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Bright Automotive executives said DOE had been asking to meet more and more difficult requirements until they deem the tasks as unacceptable and the company's resources were diminishing. "Bright has not been explicitly rejected by the DOE; rather, we have been forced to say 'Uncle,'" the company said in the letter.

A DOE spokesperson, meanwhile, said the department had been trying to negotiate a deal with Bright Automotive that supported the company business while protecting the taxpayers. The spokesperson added that DOE and the company failed to “come to an agreement on terms that would protect the taxpayers." Bright Automotive had planned to assemble its IDEA plug-in hybrid electric van at a former AM General site in Indiana and conduct engineering activities in Michigan, the Journal added. General Motors injected around $5 million in Bright Automotive in August 2010 in exchange for access to the company’s fuel-efficient vehicle technologies.

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