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Judge Opens Fisker Assets up For Auction

Hybrid, Wanxiang expected to duke it out in bidding war.

by on Jan.11, 2014

A bankruptcy court judge ruled that Fisker Automotive's assets would be put up for auction.

Now defunct Fisker Automotive’s remaining assets, including a former General Motors plant in Delaware, will be available to the highest bidder after a ruling by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross yesterday.

Two companies – Hybrid Technologies LLC and Wanxiang America – are expected to be the two leading bidders for the former EV maker. Gross scheduled a hearing for Monday, Jan. 13 at 2 p.m. to determine how the auction will be structured.

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The ruling is a win for Wanxiang, which convinced the court to not only allow an auction, but also saw Gross place a limit on what Hybrid could claim in its offer. (more…)

Remains of Fisker Automotive on Auction Block this Week

Feds hope to recover lost loan money.

by on Oct.07, 2013

It remains to be seen who - if anyone - will put the Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid back into production.

Only a handful of employees still report to work at the Fisker Automotive offices in Anaheim, California, and it has been more than a year since any of the failed maker’s Karma sedans have rolled off the assembly line at a plant in Finland. But the once-promising battery-car maker could get a new lease on life later this week.

Or, more precisely, a new owner could find ways to use Fisker’s assets, which include a second, partially completed plug-in hybrid, as well as a never-completed plant in Delaware.  They’ll be auctioned off on  Friday, October 11th in a move by the U.S. Department of Energy to recover $168 million in loans from a controversial government program intended to help spur the development of alternatively powered vehicles.

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Who will be bidding for the remains of the carmaker is unclear, but since Fisker collapsed last spring several names have been said to be interested. That includes former Chrysler and General Motors executive Bob Lutz, Wanxiang, the Chinese company that purchased Fisker’s battery supplier, the former A123 – now renamed B456 – and Richard Li, a Hong Kong billionaire. The company’s founder, Henrik Fisker, had also expressed interest in repurchasing the eponymously named automaker though it is unclear he has been able to line up any financial backing.

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Henrik Fisker Hopes to Buy His Battery-Car Company Back

Fisker Automotive founder reportedly teaming up with Hong Kong tycoon.

by on May.28, 2013

Fisker Automotive founder Henrik Fisker with the $103,000 Fisker Karma during better times.

Forced out earlier this year after a disagreement over management policies, Fisker Automotive founder Henrik Fisker is hoping to regain control of the struggling maker of plug-in hybrid vehicles which is expected to file bankruptcy unless it can quickly find a White Knight to cover its mounting debts.

Henrik Fisker, who first made his name as an automotive designer, is reportedly teaming up with Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li – an early investor in Fisker Automotive. While Fisker was not immediately available to comment, reports on the Reuters news service indicate they would like to take over the automaker without forcing it into bankruptcy.

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They would be one of several groups company insiders say are interested in taking over Fisker Automotive which launched sales of its Karma plug-in hybrid vehicle early last year. Among the others, former General Motors “car czar” Bob Lutz has teamed up with a Chinese automotive supplier to place a $20 million bid for Fisker post-bankruptcy.

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Lutz Looking to Buy Fisker

Former GM “car czar,” Chinese supplier reportedly offer $20 mil for failed plug-in maker.

by on May.24, 2013

Former GM car czar Lutz meeting with reporters at the Detroit Auto Show.

General Motors’ former “car czar” and Vice Chairman Bob Lutz reportedly is part of a group making a bid to purchase the assets of fast-failing plug-in carmaker Fisker Automotive.

The $20 million offer would be part of a pre-packaged bankruptcy deal, according to the Reuters news service. Fisker, which produces the $100,000 Karma plug-in hybrid sports car, laid off three-quarters of its staff in April and senior executives subsequently told a Congressional committee that a Chapter 11 filing was quite likely to follow.

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Credited with the original concept that eventually became the Chevrolet Volt plug-in, Lutz did not return a request for comment. But he recently expressed his interest in Fisker through a bylined column on the Forbes blog.  He described the Karma as “quite possibly the most beautiful four-door sedan ever,” and referred to its underlying technology as “ground-breaking.”

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Fisker Bankruptcy Could Come Within Days

GOP preparing House hearings on collapse.

by on Apr.10, 2013

Henrik Fisker is one of several current and former Fisker Automotive executives who will be asked to testify before the House Oversight Committee.

Lawyers for Fisker Automotive are putting the final touches on paperwork that could put the company into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection within a matter of days, according to numerous sources in and outside the fast-fading battery-carmaker.

The move appears to be coming under pressure from the Department of Energy which is hoping to recoup more than $200 million in government-backed loans it initially provided to help spur the development of Fisker’s plug-in hybrid technology. The automaker has faced increasing turmoil in recent months and last week terminated three-quarters of its 160-member staff.

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The news is causing turmoil in Washington, where the DoE automotive loan program has long been criticized by Republicans. House GOP members are planning to press into Fisker’s problems with hearings by a key oversight committee later this month, with Fisker founder Henrik Fisker and current CEO Tony Posawatz reportedly among those being called to testify.

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Fisker Facing Federal Lawsuit; Other Legal Action Could Follow

Bankruptcy the likely option, say sources.

by on Apr.08, 2013

Barring some last-minute rescue, don't expect to ever see the Fisker Atlantic make production.

If it were possible for things to get worse, well, it just might for fast-failing Fisker Automotive which, just last Friday, laid off three quarters of its employees, including its marketing, engineering and communications teams.

That move has triggered a federal lawsuit alleging the company failed to provide the required advance notice before releasing 160 of its 210 employees – who were also advised they would receive no severance pay.

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Meanwhile, several highly placed sources echoed their concerns that a bankruptcy filing is extremely “likely,” one executive who has had close scrutiny of Fisker’s books telling TheDetroitBureau.com, “I don’t see how they can avoid it.”

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Fisker Lays Off 75% of Workforce, Bankruptcy Could Follow

Maker looking for cash, partner or buyer.

by on Apr.05, 2013

Henrik Fisker with one of the first Karma plug-in hybrids during its initial media drive.

This is a complete update of TheDetroitBureau.com’s earlier report.

About 75% of the workforce at troubled battery-car start-up Fisker Automotive has been laid off, including its entire communications staff and much of its marketing and engineering operations, a move forced by the firm’s increasing weak financial situation and the mounting fears that without new investors or partners Fisker could be forced into bankruptcy, numerous sources have confirmed.

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The move comes only days after U.S. employees reported back after a week-long, unpaid furlough, and less than a month after founder and former Chairman Henrik Fisker resigned over “several major disagreements” with members of the small carmaker’s senior management team over its ongoing business strategy.

“Unfortunately we have reached a point where a significant reduction in our workforce has become necessary,” the company said, adding that it was still searching for a strategic partner.

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Major Layoffs at Fisker – Will Bankruptcy Follow?

Sources point to key investors for shake-up.

by on Apr.05, 2013

Don't expect to see the Fisker Atlantic get into production unless a White Knight emerges for the troubled battery-car maker.

Barely a week after U.S. employees were put on a 5-day unpaid furlough, troubled Fisker Automotive has apparently given termination notices to as much as half or more of its staff – including its entire communications department, several well-placed sources have told TheDetroitBureau.com.

While the latest move appears to be part of a desperate move to conserve dwindling cash resources while searching for new investors or a complete outside acquisition, the situation could be even more dire.

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“I would not be surprised to see this leading up to the possibility of a bankruptcy filing,” cautioned an extremely well-connected source with long connections to the battery-car maker. Other Fisker sources said such a move would come as no surprise to them, either.

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Potential Partners May Be Backing Away from Fisker

Geely, Dongfeng might rethink plans for plug-in maker.

by on Mar.18, 2013

The big challenge will be coming up with the cash to bring the Fisker Atlantic to market.

Now that the company’s eponymous founder has tendered his resignation, have several possible Chinese partners also decided to take a pass on Fisker Automotive? That appears to be a strong possibility according to published reports and several sources TheDetroitBureau.com has spoken to.

The question then is whether the struggling battery-car maker will have the resources to continue on its own considering its financial problems and the repeated delays in launching the company’s critical second product, the Fisker Atlantic.

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Founder and non-executive Chairman Henrik Fisker tendered his resignation last Wednesday, citing “several major disagreements” with senior management.  While Fisker has declined to be interviewed about the source of that trouble, company sources tell TheDetroitBureau.com the issues appear to have largely centered around a disagreement with CEO Tony Posawatz over  how much money was needed to move the company forward and where it would come from.

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Fisker Founder Henrik Fisker Resigns

Cites “major disagreements” with new management team.

by on Mar.13, 2013

The Fisker Karma with company founder Henrik Fisker.

With his eponymous battery-car company facing increasing turmoil as it struggles to survive a trouble launch and increasing financial problems, Henrik Fisker has resigned as executive chairman of California-based Fisker Automotive.

In a terse statement, the executive cited “several major disagreements” with members of the small carmaker’s senior management team over its ongoing business strategy. It is unclear if that references reported plans to find a partner and possibly sell a controlling stake in the firm to one of several Chinese automakers linking to the Fisker company.

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After tendering his resignation, Fisker sent out a note to a small group of media, including TheDetroitBureau.com, in which he stated that effective immediately he “has  resigned from Fisker Automotive as Executive Chairman, and has left the company. The main reasons for (my) resignation are several major disagreements…with the Fisker Automotive executive management on the business strategy.”

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