2012 Fisker KarmaEnlarge Photo
Just a week after another cash-strapped independent automaker, Aston Martin, forged a deal with a new investor, Fisker Automotive, manufacturer of the Karma extended-range electric car, is making headlines over news it’s now seeking a potential alliance partner or new investor.
Fisker was on track to launch its second model, the Atlantic, when its remaining portion of a $529 million Department of Energy loan was blocked due to some missed contractual milestones.
The Californian startup managed to raise $100 million from investors in September, but it appears even with these additional funds Fisker may not be able to continue its operations as an independent firm.
Fisker CEO Tony Posawatz, the former chief engineer of the Chevrolet Volt, has revealed to The Wall Street Journal that his company has hired investment bank Evercore to help find an alliance partner or new investor, and that it’s already in negotiations with several parties. Evercore is the same firm that advised General Motors through its bankruptcy, though Posawatz stressed that Chapter 11 filing wasn’t something Fisker was considering.
Fisker is seeking investors primarily in Asia and parts of Europe, due to the greater focus on electric cars in those regions than in the U.S. While there is a chance that Fisker may be sold, a more likely scenario would be licensing of its technology, selling shares to an outside firm, or even selling its vehicle design expertise. Fisker was founded by Dutch automotive designer Henrik Fisker, who is famous for penning cars like the BMW Z8 and Aston Martin V8 Vantage as well as his own company’s Karma.
Sadly for Fisker, it’s been months of seemingly-endless bad news, ranging from the initial funding issues to a series of recalls relating to battery, software and cooling fan problems. The company also suffered the setback of losing more than 300 Karmas due to Hurricane Sandy.
If that wasn't enough, the company most recently was forced to stop production due to its battery supplier, A123 Systems, going bankrupt. It now looks like the assets of A123 Systems will be sold to Chinese automaker Wanxiang Group for approximately $256.6 million. Hopefully it will be back supplying batteries to Fisker soon, so that Karma production can restart.
Stay tuned for an update.