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Fisker to sell third model for under $40,000 within 5 years

Executive chairman says the company will sell a cheaper plug-in hybrid, priced under the Atlantic, by partnering with a major automaker.

By Clifford Atiyeh Oct 3, 2012 11:30AM

Fisker Atlantic (c) MSNFisker wants to sell a third plug-in hybrid for less than $40,000 with the backing of a major automaker, Executive Chairman Henrik Fisker told MSN Autos on Wednesday.

The California startup, which sells the $103,000 Karma sedan and will introduce the smaller Atlantic sedan next year for roughly half the price, wants to share its technology and production costs with a large automaker starting in 2013. This new third model would be priced less than the Atlantic (pictured) and could be ready in less than five years, Fisker said.

“With a strategic partner, we will be able to make an electric vehicle extended-range premium car for under $40,000,” Fisker said during a brief stop in Boston. “It can come much sooner than you think. It doesn’t have to be five years away, let’s put it that way.”

So far, the company has held talks with three automakers in hopes of a long-term partnership that would allow it to develop a broader range of vehicles in less time. General Motors supplies engines and other components for the Karma. But if Fisker is to remain independent -- despite CEO Tony Posawatz’s suggestion on Monday that Fisker may launch an initial public offering -- it said it has to become a technology supplier and possibly co-develop a plug-in hybrid for another automaker.

“I think the advantage for any automaker to come to Fisker Automotive is that they don’t have to defocus their internal engineering team, which is already set up as a very well-oiled machine to crank out gasoline and diesel-powered cars,” Fisker said. “We don’t mind, with a strategic [original equipment manufacturer], sharing our technology, our speed, our consumer experience -- all of that, we have a lot to offer. If we do a strategic partnership, we can get some of our cars quicker to market.”

Since the company’s founding in 2007, Fisker has built and delivered 1,500 Karma sedans in the U.S. and Europe, set up a network of 79 dealerships, and is on schedule to enter two critical markets: the  Middle East this month and China by year’s end. The dealerships, more than half of which are in the U.S., are the “base platform for delivering the higher-volume, lower-cost vehicles” the company hopes to build with a large automaker, Fisker said.

“The plan is to have a range of vehicles which caters to different types of people,” he said. “This drivetrain is actually perfect, I think, pretty much for any type of vehicle.”

Among those plans, in addition to a sub-$40,000 model, could be a plug-in hybrid SUV with all-wheel drive. “When we do an SUV, I can assure you we will surprise everybody,” he said.

However, the company has been hit hard by funding gaps and serious mechanical problems. Congressional scrutiny over the company’s $529 million federal loan reached a boiling point when the Karma, which is built in Finland, posted less-than-expected fuel-economy numbers. In February, the Energy Department froze Fisker’s access to the loan, which had been considered essential for the company’s survival. Shortly afterward, Fisker himself stepped down as CEO.

Later, the company was forced to issue two recalls after several of its cars caught on fire and  the batteries failed on others -- including a Karma purchased by Consumer Reports. Fisker’s CEO replacement, Tom LaSorda, stepped down in August shortly before the company’s second recall.

While Fisker said the federal loan was likely to be canceled, the company has already raised more than the loan’s remaining balance – about $336 million – and is already paying down the interest, he said. Fisker has raised about $1.2 billion in private capital.

Oct 3, 2012 1:24PM
Oct 7, 2012 3:05AM

Why is the USA loaning money to FINLAND to build cars...?

Last I heard, about 25 million Americans didnt have Jobs...

Would think that money Would be better spent here in

The United States, helping Americans..

Oct 3, 2012 3:06PM
Any new technology is not going to be perfect at first. Give the auto makers some time and batteries will get better and cheaper like all electronic devices have. Does anyone really think the internal combustion engine is going to be here forever with oil prices the way they are. The smart money is on alternatives that are cheap and make jobs long term here- not the way all parts for every make of vehicle currently sold here are made in China.  If we don't build it they certainly will for us and we lose again. A country that makes nothing is nothing, THINK about that you fat cats that outsource every nut and bolt  JOB overseas. The bail-outs were not good for business as a whole, and now it looks like they were ONLY all bargaining tools to make the CEO's more dough.
Oct 3, 2012 7:10PM
I hope they make it. The cars look great, its american, and the workings of it are very clever. Go fisker!
Oct 3, 2012 4:45PM
It better be sooner than 5 years or Fisker will be bye-bye.
Oct 3, 2012 2:13PM
Anyword on when they are going to start using the old "Boxwood Road" general motors plant in Delaware? Alot of locals are very angry at Fiker for not even finsihed retooling the plant. let alone make the first vehicle there. Perhap they should give the plant back sicne they got it for nearly free. Just in case someone else can use it.
Oct 3, 2012 7:52PM
I've been watching the "Tesla" all electric vehicles production for quite some time now. I feel that they started off bad with their sports car, but I think they are going in the right direction now with no help from our government. The cars are still pricey at the moment, but no other auto maker is even coming close to Tesla.  I drive a prius at the moment, but looking hard at the Tesla "S" model.  I saw one in person while working in California and I was so impressed that I'm thinking about changing careers and going to work for them. I'm not a tree hugger. I'm tired of being raped by the oil companies and our government. If you get a chance watch the documentary on Netflix called, "REVENGE OF THE ELECTRIC CAR". Our governments Dept. of Energy gave loans to Tesla and Nissan. Tesla got $465m. Nissan got $1.4 billion. I really don't think that was fair. Why did we give Nissan anything? They are a large enough company that should have enough assets to not have to borrow from us.
Oct 4, 2012 1:15AM
Only $40 grand. How many unemployment checks is that?
Oct 3, 2012 1:48PM

I think they sold one of these things to Justin Bieber and it crapped out on him.  Caught on fire?  Didn' the Chevy Volts do that too?  All they need to do is change the grille a bit, add a horse collar to it and call it the "Edsel II"  Close, but no cigar, sorry.

Oct 3, 2012 4:51PM
Hey Fisker  Stay away from the Union invested cancer of GM  Put pedals in if you have to
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