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They don't want the automaker to end up like A123 Systems

After bankrupt battery company A123 Systems was (mostly) acquired by a Chinese company, two U.S. senators now worry that automaker Fisker Automotive will have the same fate.

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and John Thune (R-South Dakota) have expressed concern that taxpayer dollars will support a company with foreign ownership if Fisker is acquired by a Chinese company.

"Senator Thune and I asked the Energy Department about potential foreign ownership of Fisker in June 2012. When we raised concerns about taxpayers supporting a company with foreign ownership, the Energy Department waved those concerns away," Grassley said. "Now, those concerns may soon become a reality. Like A123, this looks like another example of taxpayer dollars going to a failed experiment. Technology developed with American taxpayer subsidies should not be sold off to China. I hope there's at least some accountability at the Department of Energy, but given its track record, I'm not holding my breath."

It has been strongly suggested that two Chinese companies -- Geely Automotive and Dongfeng Motor Corp. -- are looking for a majority stake in Fisker. It has also been rumored that Fisker could move all of its auto production to China if it made a deal with a Chinese company.


Fisker Karma

A deal isn't expected to be made until next month at the earliest. Fisker made mention that it is considering offers from all over the world -- not just China.

Fisker received $529 million in U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) loans in April 2010. The loans were part of a program to progress development of high-tech vehicles, where Fisker received $169 million for Karma plug-in engineering and $359 million for Nina production. The loans were also meant to revamp a closed General Motors plant in Wilmington, Delaware for Fisker EV production. 
 
However, Fisker fell a little behind on its production schedule, and in May 2011, DOE froze the loans due to "unmet milestones." Fisker had only drawn $193 million of it at that point.
In October 2012, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee decided to look into the original terms of its loan to Fisker Automotive, questioning whether DOE will step in to help the electric vehicle (EV) automaker if it goes bankrupt and investors are allowed to retrieve their money.


In December 2012, Fisker's battery maker A123 Systems was acquired by Chinese firm Wanxiang Group for about $260 million. A123 filed for bankruptcy in October 2012.

Earlier this month, Fisker said it hoped to restart production of its Karma plug-in "fairly soon" as it waits for A123 to come out of this bankruptcy situation.

Source: The Detroit News



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RE: Clause left out?
By FITCamaro on 2/22/2013 7:55:43 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed. The government shouldn't even be giving out this money to begin with since it has no authority to play venture capitalist. But since it's going to, it should put strict restrictions around what happens when the company changes ownership, especially to entities in foreign nations. But we know these loans are more about pushing an agenda, not reasoned thinking or whether or not a company is actually viable or not.


RE: Clause left out?
By Mint on 2/22/2013 10:20:23 AM , Rating: 2
So which would you prefer?

A123 being sold off only to US buyers, resulting in the gov't loan not being paid off?

Or would you rather have the Chinese buy it, reimbursing the taxpayer with interest?

And don't cop out with a suggestion of no loans in the first place. That would mean no US manufacturing attempts at all and just basing in China from the beginning.


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