Thanks to Justin Bieber’s platinum Fisker Karma, which has been the frequent recipient of traffic tickets and an unfortunate party of a few auto accidents, electric car maker Fisker has been a popular name in the headlines in the past few months. Although it wasn’t the best PR to have the “Biebs” and his friends crash the Karma throughout the U.S., Fisker might be wishing it were Bieber splashing its name in the headlines again this week. The story this time is that the end may be near for Fisker; which means, yet another “alternative energy initiative” might go belly up.
The faster Fisker is sold, the better.
Wall Street Journal reports that Fisker is holding out against bankruptcy, hoping they can locate a private buyer to salvage its name. One of those paying court to Fisker is Wanxiang Group — the same company that bailed out A123 Systems. That name should sound familiar — it is usually paired with the words “Solyndra” and “bankruptcy.” It seems Wanxiang wants to swoop in once again and snap up the carcass that used to house A123’s batteries: Fisker.
The other company paying tribute? VL Automotive. But, instead of thinking “green,” VL is thinking “black” — as in the black rubber mark that will be left on the pavement after their new Fisker-bodied sports-car peels away. VL unveiled a prototype last January that had a Corvette engine in a Fisker body… that would definitely rev some gear-heads. It is called the VL Destino. We will see if it’s Fisker’s destiny to live…
The next few days are going to be like the last lap of the Daytona 500… who will pull ahead and win? Will someone actually BUY Fisker, will DOE take possession, or will Fisker decide to roll over and die?
Unfortunately, no matter what the deal, the taxpayers are going to take a big loss. If the company is bought, the Obama administration will be forced to accept pennies on the dollar. Although originally approved for a $529m loan from DOE, Fisker only received $192m. Of the $192m, $21m was recouped by the Obama administration — leaving $171m yet to be paid. Even though $171m is a huge amount of money… it seems like a drop of oil in the pan compared to Solyndra’s $535m lost loan. (That’s another headache for another time.)
I am not fortune teller, but I have a feeling that Fisker will be bought by a private entity… and I think this is the better option. DOE might be able to regain more money selling than if it proceeded with bankruptcy– the taxpayers deserve the best deal they can get. I think Fisker would be more poised for success if folded into another automaker vs. being its own entity. The VL Destino would probably sell quite well… who doesn’t want a handsome car (you have to admit, the Karma is good looking) with a Corvette engine? Who knows what Wanxiang could, or would, do with Fisker — but they already have/own the car’s matching batteries!
Taxpayers funded these cars and the government mismanaged the product. DOE should take the best deal for the people, write out a very long apology to the taxpayers, and, if they insist on backing hybrid/electric cars, make vehicles that don’t cost half of a house. We are tired of wasting money and sending bodies to the alternative-energy graveyard.