By Norihiko Shirouzu and Deepa Seetharaman
BEIJING/DETROIT, March 28 Chinese state-owned
carmaker Dongfeng Motor Group will not pursue a bid
for a majority stake in Fisker Automotive, according to sources
familiar with the matter, leaving the troubled U.S. electric car
without a clear financial backer.
Dongfeng was put off by Fisker's loan obligations to the
U.S. government which include restoring capacity and jobs at the
firm's Delaware plant, said the sources who declined to be named
due to the confidential nature of the matter.
These conditions, which also deterred Chinese automaker
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group from bidding for the
U.S. company, make it impossible for Dongfeng to move the
production of Fisker's products to China, the sources added.
"In the end, what mattered to Dongfeng was being able to
produce Fisker cars in China," said one of the sources. "It
became apparent over time that could not have been done with
Fisker spokesman Roger Ormisher declined to comment. A
Dongfeng spokesman did not immediately respond to an emailed
request for comment.
Fisker, the maker of the $100,000-plus Karma plug-in hybrid,
has not produced a car since July and is seeking a financial
backer to help finish the development of a second plug-in
hybrid, the Atlantic, and produce it at the Delaware plant.
Fisker employees are on a furlough this week to help the
company conserve cash.
The sources said Fisker was open to selling off pieces of
the company, including intellectual property rights for its
plug-in electric hybrid technology. Chief Executive Tony
Posawatz also visited China this week to try and patch things up
with Dongfeng and other suitors, the sources added.
One of the sources said Fisker was trying to get a bridge
loan in the United States to buy time to find a suitor.
Geely dropped its bid for a stake in Fisker due to the
obligations the U.S. Department of Energy had placed on the firm
to grant it a $529 million loan, sources had told Reuters
earlier this month.