Fisker May Just Go Bankrupt Again in Pursuit of EV Dominance

Fisker CEO Wants to Take Tesla Down—at Whatever Cost.
The recently sort-of-saved Fisker Automotive doesn’t care if expensive plug-in hybrids cause the company to go bankrupt a second time. Or at least, not according to the outfit’s new Chinese owners. Months after buying the California startup for pennies on the dollar, Fisker’s overlords have settled on strategy: Make people buy electric cars or die trying.

Wanxiang, China’s largest auto supplier and owner of Fisker’s zombie-like operations, is making a (deranged) billionaire’s wager. Speaking to Bloomberg in tones that would tickle Elon Musk’s sense of occasion, chairman and founder Lu Guanqiu wants the industry to know he’s got plenty of money—and all the patience to eventually beat the game at, well, its own game. He told Bloomberg: “I’ll put every cent that Wanxiang earns into making electric vehicles,” he said. “I’ll burn as much cash as it takes to succeed, or until Wanxiang goes bust.”

According to Bloomberg, Lu wants to “build a new slate of electric-drive cars in the United States”, possibly at the Wilmington, Delaware plant which Vice President Biden once pledged would bring 2500 jobs that Fisker never offered. All this before tackling the Chinese market, of course.

“We want to concentrate for now on manufacturing in the U.S. If I don’t succeed, my son will continue with it. If he doesn’t make it, my grandson will,” Lu said.

2012 Fisker Karma

In March, Wanxiang said it would restart Karma production and build 1500 of the luxury sedans within 18 months. It also promised to put all of Fisker’s concept cars, including the midsize Atlantic, on the road. Whether Wanxiang wants to pull Fisker’s designs and complex powertrains under its own brand or try to expand Fisker into an all-electric lineup is entirely unclear. Considering Fisker’s crushed dealer network and screwed customers, not to mention a lingering distaste for Chinese automakers in established markets like the U.S., Wanxiang has nothing but fighting words.

At least Lu, who claims Wanxiang isn’t under state control like so many other Chinese companies, is putting his own money on the line. We’ll have to see if he’s really willing to take on Tesla, Nissan, and other major automakers in what is undoubtedly a very small market. If all else fails, we suppose Lu’s great-grandchildren could always try stuffing V-8s into unused Karma shells.

About Clifford Atiyeh