2012 Fisker KarmaEnlarge Photo
Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely, owner of Volvo, was said to be the leading candidate for an ownership stake in Fisker Automotive. It even had competition, with a rival bid coming from Chinese automaker Dongfeng.
Complicating matters even further, last week saw the departure of company founder Henrik Fisker, who left citing disagreements with Fisker Automotive executive management.
Now comes word from Reuters that Geely has backed away from the table, leaving Chinese company Dongfeng as a potential-but-likely investor. Though the timing is coincidental, Geely’s change in direction has nothing to do with Fisker’s departure.
Sources close to the deal cited complications arising from conditions set by the U.S. Department of Energy, including a mandate to add jobs and restore capacity at the former GM site in Delaware, now owned by Fisker.
The requirements were seen as overly ambitious, leaving Geely with no option but to back away from the deal.
While Dongfeng remains interested, Geely had the advantage of prior experience in purchasing a foreign automaker. It’s likely that China’s Wanxiang Group, which now owns Fisker battery supplier A123 Systems, will also be part of any potential investment deal in Fisker Automotive.
For its part, Fisker can’t be too particular about which company brings money to the table, as long as it has deep pockets.
Will Fisker Karma production resume, and will the Fisker Atlantic ever see the light of day? The answers to those questions seem just a bit more distant than they did last week.