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The Delaware plant is "absolutely empty" according to an employee that was laid off last week

Amidst growing issues with funding from the government, Fisker Automotive has laid off 12 more workers from its Delaware factory.

The Delaware layoffs occurred just last Friday, where 12 engineers and maintenance technicians were let go. According to Fisker, it's currently only able to keep a small maintenance team at the plant to maintain and watch over it.

"We have always had a flexible business model that allows us to scale up and down as work demands," said Russell Datz, Fisker spokesman. "As we ramp up the project again, we will add a new headcount. We've accomplished a lot at the plant, using more than 40 local contract firms to recycle old material and equipment. The plant is now ready for the next phase of installing new production equipment."

However, one of Fisker's laid-off employees described the Delaware Fisker plant as "absolutely empty."

Jeffrey Garland, a former aide for Sen. Bill Roth (R-Del.) who took charge of community affairs and business development for Fisker in Delaware, was one of the employees laid off last week. He said Fisker had hauled away used equipment, but didn't install the equipment required to build the $47,000 Atlantic hybrid sedan, which is Fisker's second electric-hybrid car. This vehicle was supposed to start production later this year, but has been put on hold due to financial issues with the government.

Fisker Atlantic

"All of us who were there hoped we were still adding value," said Garland. "I think what happened was the budget numbers are so tight right now and they're working so hard to preserve as much cash as they can that something had to give. We're not making a car in Wilmington right now, so given that situation, it was an obvious place to make a cut."

The last year hasn't been too kind to Fisker. Last May, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) blocked its loans previously provided to the automaker in 2010. Fisker had received a total of $529 million where $169 million went toward Fisker's $102,000 Karma plug-in engineering and another $359 million went toward the Nina midsize sedan. The DOE has blocked those loans for nearly a year now, and Fisker has been looking for alternatives to DOE funding in the meantime.

The automaker, which entered Delaware in 2009, had received $21.5 million in grants and loans from the state and has collected about $18 million of it so far to keep the idle factory maintained.

Last week's 12 lay-offs were not the first this year. In February 2012, Fisker announced that 26 employees in the same factory were laid off and work on the auto factory had halted.

Source: Delaware Online

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Dead On Arrival
By amanojaku on 4/18/2012 12:57:09 PM , Rating: 5
It's a poor business plan to count on outside assistance. You get loans or grants to speed up your growth, not enable it. Relying on outside assistance means your business is unsustainable, as we're seeing with Fisker. What happened to all the pre-order money?

RE: Dead On Arrival
By Reclaimer77 on 4/18/2012 1:10:46 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, but it's a Government fueled "green bubble" that's destined to burst one day. But until that day, people are going to be motivated to take all the "free" money they can. It's really time to stop nearly 100% of Government funded "green" projects and grants. We're getting NO return on our so-called "investment".

Fisker was never about making cars. Only an idiot could possibly think that plan was ever going to work.

RE: Dead On Arrival
By smackababy on 4/18/2012 1:46:56 PM , Rating: 3
But then how are we going to feel good if we don't have these feel good projects being funded?

RE: Dead On Arrival
By FITCamaro on 4/18/2012 1:41:16 PM , Rating: 2
Have you ever watched that movie Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps with Michael Douglas?

That movie was made in 2010. A year before the Solyndra scandals really came to light. But in the movie they almost seem to be referencing its eventual downfall due to China producing cheaper solar cells. And in the movie Douglas says that the green bubble will be the next to pop.

I don't know if they had some wise financial analysts on the team who wrote the script or what, but it was almost prophetic.

RE: Dead On Arrival
By Reclaimer77 on 4/18/2012 3:36:51 PM , Rating: 1
No Fit I hadn't. It came out during the height of the anti-business rhetoric so I assumed it was another Liberal bash fest on capitalism that I wouldn't be interested in. Plus I really hate Shia Lebouff (spelling?) kid. I hate him so much, in fact, I couldn't bring myself to Google his name just now.

I don't know if they had some wise financial analysts on the team who wrote the script or what, but it was almost prophetic.

Man that is! Almost creepy.

Of course if we're LUCKY the green bubble will burst. Obama and this Administration seems to be determined to make it a permanent budgetary fixture regardless.

RE: Dead On Arrival
By FITCamaro on 4/18/2012 4:14:32 PM , Rating: 2
Oh it definitely has some anti-business overtones. But like I said, it's almost creepy with how accurate a few of the conversations in the movie ended up being.

Give it a watch on Netflix.

RE: Dead On Arrival
By amanojaku on 4/18/2012 2:12:46 PM , Rating: 5
Exactly, but it's a Government fueled "green bubble" that's destined to burst one day. But until that day, people are going to be motivated to take all the "free" money they can. It's really time to stop nearly 100% of Government funded "green" projects and grants. We're getting NO return on our so-called "investment".

Fisker was never about making cars. Only an idiot could possibly think that plan was ever going to work.
You may be on to something...
Wired: GM went bankrupt; Chrysler is disintegrating. Is this really a good time to start a car company?

Henrik Fisker: It’s the perfect time. Especially for an environmentally minded automaker. Governments are handing out money—in April we got a $529 million loan from the US Department of Energy—and consumers are ready to change their lifestyles in the name of the environment.

Wired: You went from incorporation to unveiling a car at the Detroit Auto Show in only five months? That’s insane.

Fisker: Well, it was really just a shell; it didn’t even have a drivetrain.

Wired: OK, you had a shell in 2008—yet you promised delivery by 2010?

Fisker: You know what? Starting a car company is risky. We were brand-new, and we needed investment to develop our car. But we needed a car to attract those investors.

RE: Dead On Arrival
By FITCamaro on 4/18/2012 4:18:21 PM , Rating: 4
Basically that conversation is him bragging about get loans from the government despite having nothing to show for it.

One thing people who like to tout that all this spending is good forget that if you put tens of billions of dollars out there, something is bound to happen just from pure chance. That doesn't make all that spending a good thing or worthwhile. The government isn't supposed to be using tax payer dollars to wildly shoot in the dark at companies who might succeed. They're not supposed to be in the investment game at all. Research grants for something the government wants to buy if it works out, sure. But being an investment capitol firm? No.

RE: Dead On Arrival
By maven81 on 4/18/12, Rating: -1
RE: Dead On Arrival
By FITCamaro on 4/18/2012 4:55:29 PM , Rating: 3
Funded by a federal research group that develops technologies that the government has interest in.

Federal research should lead to a product. One that the government uses. And even better is when it can be commercialized so that PRIVATE businesses can take it and market it creating new industries. This is what happened with the internet.

Perhaps you should actually read what I said. Research is fine. But the government is not an investor capitol group. They didn't pay for all the companies out there to build their datacenters and such.

RE: Dead On Arrival
By maven81 on 4/18/12, Rating: -1
RE: Dead On Arrival
By FITCamaro on 4/19/2012 9:17:00 AM , Rating: 2
NASA research towards things used in outer space is what made things like the internet possible. I'll say a lot of NASA research today is largely useless. Instead of, oh I don't know GOING INTO SPACE!, they're studying the climate and such. Thanks liberals.

While the old Cold War is over (now we have a new one that the current administration refuses to acknowledge), DARPA's purpose remains to try and research and develop technologies the government has an interest in for military purposes. Typically those technologies, like any, eventually wind up having a commercial version.

RE: Dead On Arrival
By Mint on 4/19/12, Rating: 0
RE: Dead On Arrival
By Reclaimer77 on 4/19/2012 12:00:05 PM , Rating: 2
That's only if we accept the premise that the climate never naturally changes, and that ANY increase in temps must be caused by man. We know for a fact the climate of Earth has never been in a state of permanence historically, and that it changes from long warming to long cooling cycles. Correlation is NOT causation. CO2 is NOT a "driver" of atmospheric temperature. The "hockey stick" was a fraud that's been exposed.

You can call them stabs in the dark, but they are a big part of what's made the US economy so powerful in the last 50 years if not longer. The reason is that the misses are a tiny fraction of GDP, and the DOE grants are no different. $16B in loans over 4 years is around 0.03% of GDP, 1% of total auto related GDP. They've ensured that the US leads EV research and production by a huge margin. Just raising the white flag and letting China and their subsidies snatch that market is bad policy.

There IS no significant market for EV's. Not even in Europe, which has had horribly high prices on fuel for decades, has a concerted effort to develop and market EV technology been made. If EV's were going to be anywhere by now, they would surely be there in force. What makes you people think EV's are so important here, or even feasible for the needs of the population?

RE: Dead On Arrival
By Dug on 4/20/2012 12:52:18 AM , Rating: 2
You need to look at the facts before posting. You obviously haven't been paying attention to the temperature cycle for the last 400,000 years.

RE: Dead On Arrival
By FITCamaro on 4/20/2012 7:41:07 AM , Rating: 2
Yes because over the past 400,000 years we have accurate temperature readings for every decade or even century.

RE: Dead On Arrival
By amanojaku on 4/18/2012 5:17:21 PM , Rating: 2
Please... The Internet was not a government investment. It was a military project. It was designed to enable uninterrupted, semi-immediate, long-distance communication for war. The government, when it was still intelligent, let academic institutions develop protocols and technologies to improve the growing network. There were no loans for flaky companies; you considered yourself blessed to have the opportunity to work on government projects.

Eventually, the academic institutions wanted to communicate for purposes other than the military, and the government agreed to let them create an academic network. Private institutions learned of this and made use of the telephone system for point-to-point communication. Private networks merged with the academic networks to form the infant Internet.

RE: Dead On Arrival
By maven81 on 4/18/12, Rating: 0
RE: Dead On Arrival
By amanojaku on 4/18/2012 6:22:06 PM , Rating: 3
Sigh... Nowhere in my post did I say "nuclear attack". I said "It was designed to enable uninterrupted, semi-immediate, long-distance communication for war." In case you didn't know this, the "D" in DARPA stands for "DEFENSE", and it is a subset of the Department of Defense. What do you think the guys and gals at DARPA do? They make technologies for the military. If they cannot communicate, they cannot make technology, and the military suffers. It was a military project, even if the guys involved were just trying to improve their job efficiency.

As to the distinction between military and government spending... Military spending creates weapons for the military. We don't benefit from that outside of winning or deterring war, but military spending is a necessary evil. Government loans (the original point of this thread) are rarely advisable, as seen with Solyndra, and now Fisker. Fisker flat out admitted he opened the doors without anything to sell, and managed to get half a billion dollars within three years just because he said "green". I would have preferred that loan never been made at all, seeing as how it comes from our taxes. Add up all the loans like this and it gets to be ridiculous.

RE: Dead On Arrival
By maven81 on 4/18/2012 6:31:04 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know why you're still arguing this point when you're clearly wrong. The military applications came AFTER the civilian ones, not before as you were trying to say. This is what the guy in charge himself has said. It was a way for researchers to communicate. Even the military is smart enough to understand that they should invest in basic research, and not hope to develop a specific product. You foster an atmosphere of invention, you benefit. Simple.

RE: Dead On Arrival
By mindless1 on 4/18/2012 7:31:54 PM , Rating: 2
There are a couple infrastructure related green projects I feel would be worth it for their long term benefits.

1) Embed power rails in our highways so that electric cars only need enough battery power to get to or from those highways and can recharge while driving on them. No more need for an engine then to travel longer distances, plus batteries much smaller, should cut vehicle costs by $10K or more easily AND reduce the amount of material needed to build them and that ends up in landfills.

This would also delay the eventual need to upgrade the existing grid to recharge vehicles at home once there is a large adoption rate.

Make the cars smart so they monitor their own energy usage for billing purposes.

Do it one portion of the country at a time so it is viable within that region to own a lower cost electric vehicle, plus on all major interstates.

2) Build more nuclear power plants.

RE: Dead On Arrival
By nolisi on 4/18/2012 1:14:52 PM , Rating: 2
What's your definition of outside assistance? Most large scale businesses require fundraising of some variety to get started. I'm unaware of any large scale manufacturing enterprise that started without investors and/or loans.

RE: Dead On Arrival
By amanojaku on 4/18/2012 1:43:03 PM , Rating: 3
Outside assistance is just that: any money that is not obtained from a sale of goods or services. That means:

1) Government grants
2) Government loans
3) Gubment cheeze (couldn't resist)
4) Bank loans
5) Private investors
6) Venture capitalists
7) Fundraisers
8) Donations

Your business is supposed to be sustainable first. You sell small quantities of goods and/or services, ensuring you have enough profit to sustain yourself, while maintaining low overhead. Part of that profit is untouchable: it will be used to grow the business, and this is where people mess up. They make some money, then buy luxuries, either at home or at the job. You're supposed to take a vow of poverty for at least five years, dedicating every penny to future growth.

Which is where the balancing act comes in. You're saving some of that profit, but you're spending the other part, because you need to make incremental growth spurts. An employee here, a service there. Ideally, the people working with you (you're not large enough to consider a true hierarchy yet) are contributing just as much time, money and resources as you to get things going. This is key: if your business is sustainable, you won't have a problem investing your own money into it.

Five or ten years of consistent, self-funded growth is achievable, and the best criteria for outside funding. I'm doing it now with my business: every transaction nets me profit, and profit fuels growth.

RE: Dead On Arrival
By FITCamaro on 4/18/2012 1:42:47 PM , Rating: 3
Yes but most companies secure PRIVATE investors and loans before they start their business. Not hope for continued government grants and loans to be able to survive.

RE: Dead On Arrival
By tayb on 4/18/12, Rating: 0
RE: Dead On Arrival
By Arsynic on 4/18/2012 3:25:24 PM , Rating: 2
You aren't going to find many start ups that don't require some outside funding. The money being funneled into a company like this would be better spent funding a lab full of scientists researching green technologies instead of a company like this.

We already have labs full of scientists at government-funded universities. Let the research happen there and when there's a viable proof of concept, the investors will line up for blocks ready to hand them money.

We don't need corporate welfare. Soon it will be like individual welfare plans where its difficult to wean people off of it and thus it becomes another political football that can be used to manipulate voters. I can see it now, "The Republicans want to take away your government grants and 15,000 people will lose their jobs.!" Nevermind the fact that a so-called private corporation is supporting a "family" of 15,000 on welfare checks.

RE: Dead On Arrival
By Mint on 4/19/2012 10:08:06 AM , Rating: 2
How is that different from what's happening here?

They have Atlantic 90% developed without using the 60% of the gov't loan devoted to it, and now that it's been pulled, they're looking for the cheapest place to build it (which isn't the US).

If they had access to the loan, it would have sped up production and started shortly. Since they don't, it'll start later.

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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