However, that was the least skewed portion of segment. Fox
News and its analysts went on to infer that Tesla and Fisker were not
American companies and had illegitimately obtained loans from U.S.
taxpayers. The commentators claimed that Tesla was based in
England and Fisker in Finland. They also criticized the
vehicles for being too expensive for "most Americans" to
afford. Cheered by the Fox News anchor, hosted analyst David
Williams remarked, "This isn't going to help average Americans.
This isn't going to help the working class get these cars."
courtesy of Media Matters]
In both cases the testimony was misleading. Tesla's European
headquarters is indeed based in Windsor, UK. However, the
majority of its business is within the United States, as is its
international headquarters -- located in San Carlos, California.
Similarly, Fisker does have a Finnish connection -- its plug-in
hybrid Karma sports car is being sub-manufactured by Valet
Automotive in Finland. Fisker's headquarters, though, is in
Irvine, California. Furthermore, the practice of outsourcing
manufacturing is commonplace among the U.S.'s larger automakers, GM,
Ford, and Chrysler. A recent study indicated that Toyota Motors
-- a non-American firm has in fact, the greatest amount of parts,
monetarily, produced in the U.S.
The $528.7M USD for Fisker and $465M USD doled out to Tesla hardly
seem egregious in comparison to the tens of billions that GM and
Chrysler received. Even Ford has received far more -- receiving
USD in the most recent round of advanced technology loans.
Fisker chose to put
out a press release to try to correct these inaccuracies, while
declining to specifically target Fox News. CEO, Henrik Fisker
writes, "American automaker Fisker Automotive was recently
approved for a conditional loan of $528 million by the Department of
Energy (DOE). While news reports were mostly factual, some ignored or
marginalized the truth, or sensationalized irrelevant aspects of the
loan and our company."
The release emphasizes that the DOE funding will not be used in
overseas operations and will, in fact, help create or save 5,000 U.S.
jobs. The company laments that the Karma is being assembled in
Finland, saying it only turned to outsourcing when no U.S. plant
would agree to produce the vehicle, likely due to its small
production numbers. It says that much of the loan money is
going towards retooling a U.S. assembly plant for its $40,000 plug-in
hybrid (Project NINA) – the facility will have the capacity to
build 75,000 to 100,000 vehicles a year by 2012. It also states
that it is confident that it will be able to repay taxpayers, with
Fisker concludes, "It is unfortunate how false
information can be disseminated and it is our intention to correct as
much of it as possible."