Fisker Automotive has named veteran industry leader Tom LaSorda as chief executive officer. LaSorda has been the automaker's vice chairman since he was appointed late last year. Moreover, he was a former CEO at Chrysler. The manufacturer of electric vehicles has been struggling to find its next round of funding.
The company also named its co-founder and CEO Henrik Fisker as the executive chairman. Fisker related that his new role will involve building the brand as well as creating brand awareness, design and styling and future vision of the company.
Despite the launch of its $103,000 Karma extended-range hybrid automobile, the automaker has lately missed milestones in collecting its next round of funding from the U.S. Department of Energy. It has halted the development of its lower-priced Project Nina. On the other hand, LaSorda is positive that the automaker will be profitable by next year with the Karma sales alone.
He added that the disclosure would hopefully be sufficient to prompt the next round of funding whether from the DOE or other sources. In addition, LaSorda hinted at the prospect of creating an alliance with another vehicle manufacturer, stating that the company will be "open" to the idea if any automaker will call.
He clarified that they are not "out in the marketplace pushing that." Through the company's Valmet Automotive assembly factory in Finland, Fisker has manufactured around 2,000 Karma units. Around 840 units have been delivered to Canadian and U.S. dealers. Last week, the dealers in Europe began receiving the Karma units.
LaSorda stated that he cannot say when the production for Project Nina would start and what the happenings are in Wilmington. Henrik Fisker disclosed late last year the prototype production at Wilmington would commence during the second half this year. LaSorda has 32 years of experience in the vehicle business.
He was working for General Motors, rising through various manufacturing ranks, prior to his appointment as head of manufacturing at Chrysler in 2000. In 2004, he was Chrysler's COO and from 2005 to 2007, he was CEO. LaSorda mentioned in a conference call that he was "quite impressed by the passion here and the brand itself." He also stated that he is "personally invested in the company" to demonstrate the confidence he has in the company and the team.