Fisker files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

Article by Anita Panait, on November 25, 2013

Fisker Automotive has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as part of its restructuring plan. Investor group Hybrid Tech Holdings LLC is acquiring Fisker's assets and is providing $8 million in debtor-in-possession financing to fund the carmaker's sales and restructuring. The United States Department of Energy sold its green-technology loan in Fisker to Hybrid Tech for $25 million.

Hybrid Tech bought one loan granted by the Department of Energy that has an initial worth of $168 million. The sale allowed DOE to recoup around $53 million on its $192 million investment in Fisker. Marc Beilinson, Fisker's chief restructuring officer, said in a statement that after evaluating and pursuing all other alternatives, the sale to Hybrid and the related Chapter 11 filing is the best alternative for maximizing the carmaker's value for "the benefit of all stakeholders."

He said that under Hybrid's leadership, Fisker's technology and product development capability "will remain a guiding force in the evolution of the automotive industry." Hybrid Technology said in a statement that the purchase of the government loan was the first step toward resuming production and sale of the Fisker and the development of other hybrid-electric vehicles.

Caroline Langdale, a spokeswoman for Hybrid Technology, said in a statement that the company will make decisions about the structure and footprint of the new business as they examine Fisker's opportunities. While the design of the Karma has been praised, a horde of quality issues hurt Fisker's image and exhausted its cash. The carmaker even fired most of its employees in April to save cash as it failed to find a buyer.

When Fisker Automotive made the new Karma, it was important that the brand’s very own principle, which is known as Sustainable and Accountable Design, would be utilized. Not surprising given that this is the first car from Fisker. It did result though in this model being able to represent how the whole auto industry could move forward.

When the brand developed the Karma, it knew that manufacturing cars was an activity that needed a lot of resources and energy. This was not limited to building the actual cars but began with the development and that went all the way to marketing and even the disposal. Because this was a new car, it meant that Fisker could start from scratch.

This allowed the brand a chance to improve the process further while also being able to reimagine what customers should expect from auto manufacturers. Under its design philosophy, Fisker looked for ways to lower the impact to the environment, which includes the carbon footprint, on the whole value chain. The brand made sure to also increase the efficiency.

Fisker hopes that with this, it will show that it is an automaker that is truly dedicated to accountability and sustainability. Fisker revealed that beginning with the Karma, all future models will be sold using a worldwide network composed of independent, dependable, and well-established retailers. For the U.S. market, the brand said that it had already identified 45 locations.

The same number is expected for the markets in Europe. While the retail network in Europe is still being developed, importers have been identified and tasked with managing it. These include Nellemann based in Copenhagen, Denmark, and the Emil Frey Group located in Zurich, Switzerland. Down further there is Fisker Italia in Merano, Italy, with the European presence rounded out by BD Otomotive in Istanbul, Turkey.

Fisker though is not limiting its presence in Europe and is looking to expand even in China. In line with this, the brand signed with China Grand Automotive a non-exclusive distribution agreement. Said agreement was matched in December 2010 in Shanghai.

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Topics: fisker, bankruptcy



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