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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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RE: Such slow progress
By mcnabney on 10/28/2009 1:14:42 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, that is nowhere near true. President Truman was essentially put in office by the Pendergast machine that operated from KC. The corruption of today is just a lot slicker. Back then it wasn't 'play ball and get a check', it was 'play ball or we send some guys over'.

Organizations were just more motivated back then. Look how quickly SpaceShipOne was designed and built while the new Ares rocket won't go into service for another 5+ years. Pathetic.

RE: Such slow progress
By Ringold on 10/28/2009 2:47:18 AM , Rating: 3
Organizations were just more motivated back then. Look how quickly SpaceShipOne was designed and built while the new Ares rocket won't go into service for another 5+ years. Pathetic.

That should tell you everything you need to know about government right there. The fact the Burj Dubai is coming right along while 8 years after 9/11 the new WTC still isn't completed should tell you all you need to know about red tape.

And yet you seemed to rail against companies and their profit motive in another post, seemingly defending unions, which are entities that share many properties with governments. Meh.

RE: Such slow progress
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 10/28/2009 12:11:08 PM , Rating: 1
Also, note that in Dubai they have so much money they don't know what to do with it, while in this country we have to ration the cash - expecially when the retarded cowboy was spending all the money on the war and not reporting it in the federal budget. So ya see...

RE: Such slow progress
By Nfarce on 10/28/2009 8:10:47 PM , Rating: 2
expecially when the retarded cowboy was spending all the money on the war and not reporting it in the federal budget.

1) How cute. Still got Bush derangement syndrome? But Bush couldn't do a DAMN THING without Democrats in Congress, which has to approve everything before it even gets to the president's desk. You FAIL.

2) How about your heroes Obama & Pelosi hiding stuff? Again, you FAIL:

"Washington — Health care legislation taking shape in the House carries a price tag of at least $1 trillion over a decade, significantly higher than the target President Barack Obama has set, congressional officials said Friday as they struggled to finish work on the measure for a vote early next month. Democrats have touted an unreleased Congressional Budget Office estimate of $871 billion in recent days, a total that numerous officials acknowledge understates the bill’s true cost by $150 billion or more . That figure excludes several items designed to improve benefits for Medicare and Medicaid recipients and providers, as well as public health programs and more."

See ya.

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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