Fisker Automotive lays off workers after the Dept of Energy freezes loans
Fisker Automotive, the designer and manufacturer of high end luxury plug-in hybrid cars, has run into a cash crunch and is laying off workers. Fisker is one of the recipients of Dept of Energy low-interest loans meant to jump-start electrified vehicle manufacturing in the U.S., but their plans have met delay after delay. Having missed one or more of the required loan program milestones, the Dept of Energy has frozen Fiskers line of credit. Which, of course, puts a kink in the company's plans.
Fisker Automotive is the brainchild of Henrik Fisker, a famed luxury car designer. The company focuses on hybrid electric cars and is currently producing the Karma sedan at a contract automotive manufacturing plant in Finland. Plans are to develop several other car models and to move manufacturing to a former GM plant in Delaware. The first of those new cars, the Surf, is planned to begin manufacture at the end of 2012 and begin delivery in 2013. That is, if the company can navigate this cash crunch.
The company was one of the recipients of the giant Dept of Energy loan program announced in the summer of 2009. Fisker's slice was $527 million, most of which was to go for development of the Surf and other later models, and reopening the GM plant in Delaware to manufacture the car. A small portion of that loan was to prepare the Karma for production, in Finland. Note that Fisker received low-interest loans from the federal government, not grants as has been done in other cases.