Fisker rejects Romney's 'Loser' tag, will his attack backfire on Romney?
In Wednesday's Presidential Debate, candidate one of Mitt Romney's zinger attack lines was to associate three electric car related companies as losers, while invoking the ghost of Solyndra. One of those companies, Fisker Automotive, has responded with a statement sent to several news outlets saying "We don't consider ourselves a loser," while reiterating the company's business success. The three company's on Romney's list, Ener1 and Tesla Motors, Fisker Automotive are all in in business, raising private investment capital, manufacturing and selling products, but have not grown to the point of breaking even much less turning a profit.
Are Fisker, or Ener1 or Tesla, Loser's? If these companies are not 'Losers' does it reflect badly on Romney's credibility?
Fisker Automotive is a designer/manufacturer of luxury plug-in hybrid electric cars, launched a few years ago by famed automotive designer Henrik Fisker. The company was one of the recipients of Dept. of Energy loans in the Advanced Technology Manufacturing Program, a Bush-era program which has been incorrectly tarnished as an Obama-era program. Fisker's $527 million loan program was split into two portions, one to support development (but not manufacturing of) the Fisker Karma, and the other to support development and manufacturing of the Fisker Atlantic (code named Nina).
While Karma manufacturing and delivering did begin a year ago, it was badly delayed. Delayed enough to miss several milestones required by the DOE loans, and in March this year the DOE froze the loans to Fisker. Fisker had drawn about $190 million from the loans, and the rest was primarily meant to support manufacturing of the Atlantic. The frozen loans derailed plans to start manufacturing the Atlantic this year, and the company laid off the workers who were refurbishing the former-GM plant in Delaware where the Atlantic was to be manufactured.
All along Fisker has been raising investment dollars from private investors, as is typical of start-up's. To date the company has raised over $1.2 billion in private investment capital. That's a lot of money, representing a big vote of confidence from investors.