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Fisker Karma
Electric car startup grows thanks to a government loan

Currently, California-based electric car startup Fisker automotive is sub-manufacturing its Karma plug-in electric vehicle through Valmet Automotive in Finland.  Now thanks to a loan of $528.7M USD from the Department of Energy, Fisker is moving the focus of its production -- and the money and jobs that goes with it -- to the United States.

The move became official at a press conference in Wilmington, Delaware this morning.  Joined by Delaware's Governor, Jack Markell, and Vice President Joe Biden, Fisker's founder and CEO Henrik Fisker officially announced his company's plans to purchase a closed GM plant and repurpose it to produce his company's electric vehicles.

The plant was built by GM in 1947 and was last used to produce the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky, both of which ended production last spring.  It is currently owned by Motors Liquidation, the government-organized bankruptcy holding from GM that is seeking to sell off the company's remaining stale assets.  Fisker will get the plant at a bargain price of $18M USD, leaving plenty of its loan funding for the retooling, employment, and distribution costs.  The refurbishing and retooling of the plant is estimated to cost $175M USD and will take three years to fully complete, though partial production may start before that.

The plant sits on a spacious 142 acres of land and features over 3.2 million square feet of floor space.  Once retooled, it will be used to build a new, more-affordable plug-in that Fisker is currently cooking up, codenamed "Project Nina".  Fisker plans to release this new vehicle by 2012 and reach production levels of 75,000-100,000 units annually by 2014 which is well above current Karma production levels.  The company says that half the production will be sold domestically and approximately half of the production will be exported and sold overseas, under his company's current plan.  It is targeting a price of under $40,000 for the vehicle, after federal tax credits, ironically similar to the speculated price of the 2011 Chevy Volt, produced by GM.

Mr. Fisker praised the plan for the new plant.  He describes, "This is a major step toward establishing America as a leader of advanced vehicle technology. Wilmington is perfect for high quality, low volume production and will soon be the proud builder of world-class, fuel-efficient Fisker plug-in hybrids."

Although Fisker's current overseas production plans have caught some flak, more criticism may be raised over the plant's use of unionized labor.  The plant will employ 2,000 workers, mostly UAW members.  The decision to keep the plant unionized is a rather atypical choice for a startup auto firm.  The plant will also lead to the employment of approximately 3,000 supplier jobs in the U.S.

Gary Casteel, UAW director responsible for the plant, cheered the decision to keep the plant unionized, stating, "It gives me great pride to give UAW Local 435 workers the opportunity to partner with Fisker Automotive to create a greener America by building a plug-in hybrid car that will compete globally."

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By Nfarce on 10/27/2009 8:49:25 PM , Rating: 3
Yup. And MSNBC's Chris Matthews who got a "tingling feeling going up his leg" over the Obama election results is fair and balanced. That goes for CNN as well. But, we'll let the ratings speak for themselves on what Americans choose to watch - and guess who's on top and who's on bottom amongst cable news?

By Mitch101 on 10/28/2009 1:33:07 PM , Rating: 2
Im going to point out that the majority of people are stupid. Because someone watches the news doesnt mean they are intelligent or more intelligent that those who dont or watch a different news channel.

Using the above. Some broadcasters have realized/customized news to their demographic and you can get higher ratings on entertainment news than in regular political style news. Obviously some news channels are more entertainment than actual news. A lot of people like car chases and shootings than what their governor signed today. More people will tune into see those car chases than to hear what the governor said today. Its no wonder the news channel with the highest ratings is the one that appeals to the widest scope of people. Because again the majority of people are actually stupid.

So when one brags about the best news channel based upon ratings you have to consider are you and the people around you watching because of a car chase or some political figure who is having an affair and want the latest gossip or are you watching to see what your elected officials are signing into law? Both are news they just serve a different demographic.

While I like car chases I realize it isn't news its entertainment. Im not sure any of them report real news because real news is boring and they need rating to generate advertising revenue. Since its all about the dollars does anyone cover real news any more?

By Nfarce on 10/28/2009 8:04:03 PM , Rating: 2
Im going to point out that the majority of people are stupid...Some broadcasters have realized/customized news to their demographic and you can get higher ratings on entertainment news than in regular political style news. Obviously some news channels are more entertainment than actual news.

Actually the only people who are "stupid" are the ones that can't tell the difference between NEWS and COMMENTARY and consider Fox News "entertainment" only. Yes, the easy way out of dismissing Fox News' very successful ratings is to just mindlessly call it "entertainment." But it's not an "entertainment" news outlet. That's for Jon Stewart on the Comedy Channel. Here's the reality of news vs. commentary - I'll give you some examples:

Fox News Commentary: "The O'Reilly Factor"
Fox News News: "America's News Room"

MSNBC News Commentary: "Countdown With Keith Olbermann"
MSNBC News: "MSNBC Live"

CNN News Commentary: "Anderson Cooper 360"
CNN News News: "CNN Newsroom:

Now again, anyone who cannot tell the difference between unbiased news presentation and commentary probably can't tell the difference between an OpEd in a news paper and what is reported and printed by the AP in said news paper. Stupid is as stupid does.

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