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Could A123 Systems' Buyer Wanxiang Be Fisker's Next Investor?

 

2012 Fisker Karma EcoChic, New York City, Jan 2012

2012 Fisker Karma EcoChic, New York City, Jan 2012

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Earlier this week, we reported that Chinese auto parts giant Wanxiang had received approval from the U.S. government to purchase the non-military business of bankrupt lithium-ion battery maker A123 Systems.

That’s good news for luxury plug-in hybrid automaker Fisker, as A123 Systems was the sole supplier of the lithium-ion cells used to construct the Karma’s battery packs. Fisker has been in a production hold since A123 went bankrupt, and that hold will likely be lifted as soon as Wanxiang begins supplying new inventory.

As we speculated, Wanxiang may soon be supplying more than just batteries to Fisker. Bloomberg reports the Chinese company is open to supporting Fisker in any way it can, as the automaker is the single largest buyer of A123 Systems’ wares.

In the words of Wanxiang America Corporation president Pin Ni, “They’re a customer so it will be in our best interest to support them, as a vendor or possibly in a strategic alliance.”

Fisker is actively seeking investors, and recently appointed an outside company to manage its cash flow in the interim. Wanxiang has deep enough pockets to become Fisker’s primary investor, should the Chinese firm decide this is in its best interest.

The struggling automaker isn’t saying much at the moment. Company spokesman Roger Ormisher commented only, “We have had interest in Fisker from a number of different potential partners or strategic alliances spanning three continents. Given the ongoing negotiations, we cannot add any further specifics at this time.”

It seems clear to us that Fisker will emerge from its current crisis with a new partner and money in the bank (perhaps even enough to begin building the Atlantic). The only real question remaining is who that primary investor will turn out to be.

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