By Deepa Seetharaman
Oct 15 Fisker Automotive, the hybrid sports-car
startup backed by venture investors and the U.S. government,
aims to start production of its second model in late 2014 or
2015, the automaker said on Monday, at least two years later
than initially planned.
The Atlantic, a mid-size gasoline-electric sedan, is slated
to enter pre-production in 2014, according to slides prepared by
Fisker for an investor presentation.
"The Atlantic is really the volume car that begins to build
growth," Chief Executive Tony Posawatz said during a conference
call with investors and analysts. "It creates a business model
that is one where we can really generate cash in the future."
The presentation was the first time Fisker disclosed a
production timetable for the Atlantic, whose target base price
is $55,000. The car will underpin Fisker's future models, which
may include sport-utility vehicles and crossovers.
Fisker also may "engage with some discussions with partners
to use this platform, use this technology, which very few people
have," Posawatz added.
The Atlantic is essential for Fisker to regain its
credibility after delays and quality issues hurt the launch of
its $100,000-plus Karma flagship sedan.
Fisker was also dealt a blow in February when the U.S.
Department of Energy froze the bulk of its $529 million loan to
Fisker due to delays in launching the Karma.
Posawatz and Chief Financial Officer Jim Yost are part of a
slate of new executives hired recently to spearhead Fisker's
turnaround. Fisker has raised $1.2 billion from private
investors since it was founded in 2007.
"We're looking at the next phase of our investment and
progression as a company to restart the (Atlantic) program in
earnest," Posawatz told investors and analysts on Monday.
Earlier this month, Posawatz said Fisker was in talks with
potential strategic partners to cut costs and raise money to
build the Atlantic. The company is also laying the groundwork to
go public, he added.
PARTNERSHIPS TO CUT COSTS
About 90 percent of the parts in the Atlantic have been
engineered. Fisker is in talks with potential suppliers and
would be interested in partnerships with major automakers to buy
vehicle components at a lower cost, according to the
Production of the Atlantic had been slated for a former
General Motors plant in Wilmington, Delaware, which
Fisker bought for about $20 million in 2010.
Those plans were put on hold after the DOE froze its loan,
raising the possibility that the car could be built outside the
United States. The company has not yet confirmed the site of the
Atlantic's production, Fisker spokesman Roger Ormisher said.
During Monday's presentation, Yost said Fisker has done a
lot of work to prepare and clean the Delaware plant and that
capacity inside the plant could be used by Fisker suppliers.
"This is the vehicle that we expect to be our mass-produced
vehicle and as a result of that we wanted to make sure it was
located in the United States," Yost told investors about the
He added that the plant had more capacity than Fisker needs,
but "we think that's an opportunity for some of our suppliers to
come in, co-locate with us and really provide a manufacturing
hub for the next generation of products that we produce, not
just the Atlantic itself, but also future products."
Ormisher declined to comment on the presentation.