Thursday, September 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Will ex-Chrysler boss rescue Fisker?

Unlikely to save loser Delaware plant plan

Will ex-Chrysler boss rescue Fisker?

Bob Lutz, the Main Line native who once headed Chrysler and was later a senior executive at General Motors, is working with China's largest car-parts maker on a deep-discount offer for bankrupt Fisker Automotive, Reuters reports here.

During the first Obama administration, Fisker took $171 milion in U.S. Energy Department loans and $21 million in Delaware state grants to finance a plan to build electric cars at a former GM plant outside Wilmington, Del. near Vice President Joe Biden's home. Biden attended a 2009 mass rally announcing the deal, brokers and lenders raised up to $2 billion in share sales and loan commitments, and Fisker began selling Finland-built sports cars as it started prep work on the factory.

But the federal government reduced funding after Fisker failed to meet business targets in 2011, and the company collapsed last year and laid off most of its management team.

A Lutz-led rescue would do little to revive the hope of a Delaware car factory. According to Reuters, Lutz and Gilbert Villareal, his business partner in VL Automotive, are developing a Fisker- and Corvette-based car called Destino. They made an offer for Fisker's remaining assets jointly with China-based Wanxiang Group. At least one other bidder is interested. VL, Lutz and Wanxiang, which controls Fisker's battery supplier, declined to comment for the story. 

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Joseph N. DiStefano
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PhillyDeals posts raw drafts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area finance, investment, commercial real estate, tech, hiring and public spending, which he's been writing since 1989, mostly for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn, taught writing at St. Joe's, and has written the book Comcasted, more than a thousand columns, and thousands of articles, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

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