Wanxiang America made surprise bid for Fisker

Article by Anita Panait, on January 3, 2014

Wanxiang America Corp., a unit of Chinese parts maker Wanxiang Group, made a bid for Fisker Automotive just days before the carmaker was to be sold to a company affiliated with Hong Kong tycoon Richard Li, according to court documents. Fisker creditors asked the United States Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware to cancel the sale to the Li affiliate and instead hold an open auction in which Wanxiang America plans to bid.

Wanxiang has agreed to make an initial bid of $24.725 million. It also said that it will assume some liabilities of Fisker, according to court documents. A hearing has been set Friday to consider whether Fisker should proceed with the sale or adopt the proposal.

In December 2013, US judge Kevin Gross raised concerns on Fisker's apparent rush to complete its bankruptcy process, which was filed only in November.

Wanxiang outbid Johnson Controls in 2012 in a bankruptcy auction for most of the assets of A123 Systems Inc, a company that produces batteries for Fisker. At the time, Wanxiang expressed interest in helping Fisker, which is A123's largest customer.

"They are extremely capable and knowledgeable of the industry and know how to get things done," William Baldiga, a Brown Rudnick attorney who represents Fisker's official creditors committee, said of Wanxiang.

As Fisker Automotive's first car, the new Karma is built adhering to the carmaker’s Sustainable and Accountable Design philosophy.

The carmaker fully understands that the development and construction as well as marketing and disposal of cars comprise a process that intensively exploits energy and resources. Fisker is taking the opportunity to improve this process.

Fisker Automotive is aiming to be a carmaker that is most dedicated to sustainability and accountability, which it tries to achieve by pursuing ways to increase the levels of efficiency while reducing environmental impact and its carbon footprint.

Fisker plans to have the Karma and all its future vehicles to be sold and serviced using a network of established and independent retailers around the world. In fact, 45 locations have been spotted in the United States, and a similar number is meant to be achieved in Europe.

In Europe, the Fisker model is currently being built and will be operated by known importers, such as Nellemann in Copenhagen, Denmark and the Emil Frey Group in Zurich, Switzerland as well as Fisker Italia in Merano, Italy, and BD Otomotive in Istanbul, Turkey. Likewise, the carmaker already inked a non-exclusive distribution deal with China Grand Automotive in Shanghai in December 2010.

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