Detroit Dec 11 The short-term future of Fisker
Automotive, the hybrid-sports car startup, could hinge on the
outcome of Chinese auto parts maker Wanxiang's controversial
quest to acquire bankrupt U.S. battery maker A123 Systems
Fisker, based in Anaheim, California, hasn't built a car in
six months and says it doesn't plan to restart production until
after A123, its battery supplier, concludes a court-managed
The Delaware Bankruptcy Court approved the $256.6 million
sale of A123 to Wanxiang Group late on Tuesday afternoon, but
the deal still has to be approved by the Committee on Foreign
Investment in the United States.
"We plan to wait until Wanxiang takes full control of A123,
then we will get in contact with them to negotiate a contract,"
Fisker spokesman Roger Ormisher told Reuters. Once a deal is
reached with A123's new owner, he said, "we can resume Karma
Until then, "we have a sufficient supply of cars," Ormisher
said, who added, "We are not looking for a new battery
Like A123, Fisker received government funding to support
green-technology development. However, its $100,000-plus Karma
hybrid sports car is built by contractor Valmet in Uusikaupunki,
Ormisher said no Karmas have been assembled in Uusikaupunki
since July, when the Finnish company begins a traditional summer
With the break in Karma production and a delay in the
development of its second car, the Atlantic, Fisker has cut its
workforce to around 300, Ormisher said.
The automaker said last week it hired investment bank
Evercore Partners Inc to search for partners and
investors, but denied reports that a sale of the company was
Fisker previously said it had held discussions with
potential strategic partners to cut costs and raise money to
build the Atlantic.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Energy froze the
unused portion of its $529-million loan to Fisker, due in part
to a delay in bringing the Karma to showrooms.
The DOE also said the remaining $120 million of A123's
$249-million federal grant would not be transferred to the new
A123 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October as demand
for electric and hybrid vehicles such as the Karma has not met
expectations. The battery maker also was forced to recall
defective batteries used in the Karma.