The United States Department of Energy is bidding to unload a federal loan granted to Fisker Automotive Inc. either via a straight sale or an auction, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. The Department of Energy, through its Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, granted a $529-million loan to the plug-in electric car maker in September 2009, of which Fisker drew down $192 million before defaulting on payments.
Fisker failed to post any profit and eventually incurred a total of $1 billion in losses from 2008 to 2012 and had been struggling to keep up on its payments on the loan. DOE froze Fisker’s credit line in May 2011 after determining that the carmaker was not meeting the required milestones on the loan.
According to Reuters, Fisker has built around 2,450 Karmas, losing at least $35,000 on each of the $100,000-plus cars. The carmaker had to shell out between $50 million and $100 million for eleventh-hour design tweaks before it had even sold its first car.
Co-founder Henrik Fisker exited the carmaker in March 2013, and in April, Fisker defaulted on its federal loan and appointed a team of restructuring advisers. According to the Journal, the government only managed to recover around $21 million from Fisker.
The Fisker brand and Karma vehicle had attracted a number of interested buyers like Fritz Nols AG -- Germany-based investor group lead by Ingo Voigt -- which has offered $25 million for the carmaker to the DOE, according to Autobild.
Voigt said in a Facebook post last week that Fritz Nols had submitted a "detailed offer including a signed [letter of intent] and a short presentation of our restructuring plan" to the DOE. Other interested buyers include Chinese auto parts maker Wanxiang Group and a Hong Kong investment group, the Journal reported.
Fisker Automotive’s first vehicle is the Karma. Constructed as per Fisker’s Sustainable and Accountable Design ideals, it embodies a forward and dramatic leap for the whole of the automotive sector.
Fisker appreciates that conceiving, constructing, selling, and marketing of vehicles comprise an extremely intensive proposal in terms of energy and resources. As a new endeavour beginning with a clean slate, Fisker realises it has a tremendous opening to enhance this practise and reinterpret what can be expected of automakers.
By steadfastly practising ways to increase effectiveness and lessen environmental effect, including its carbon footprint, through the whole value chain, Fisker Automotive is endeavouring to be the automobile manufacturer most committed to sustainability and responsibility.
The Karma and all Fisker vehicles to come will be sold and serviced across a worldwide network of recognised, dependable, independent dealers. In the United States, 45 sites have been recognised, with a comparable amount planned for Europe.
Fisker's retail network in Europe is being established and will be run by importers like the Emil Frey Group in Zurich, Switzerland, and Nellemann in Copenhagen, Denmark. Fisker Italia in Merano, Italy, and BD Otomotive in Istanbul, Turkey, complete the brands's European presence. Fisker also signed a non-exclusive distribution contract with China Grand Automotive in Shanghai in December 2010.