Fisker Appoints New CEO- Can He Save This Company?


Fisker has appointed Tom LaSorda CEO replacing Henrik Fisker.  Fisker, founder and co-owner of Fisker Motors, will assume the role of executive chairman.  LaSorda’s skill is said to be manufacturing.

The first model from Fisker is the Karma.  A terrific looking automobile but beauty may only be skin deep as the vehicle interior is rated a sub-compact by the EPA.  The Karma’s range is 32 miles on the battery.  It is a hybrid so the gasoline driven generator comes on when the battery is exhausted, at which point the EPA rating becomes 20 mpg.

According to a Bloomberg posting, Jeremy Anwyl, vice chairman of Edmunds.com, an automotive data and pricing company had this to say about the Karma: “The odds are stacked against Fisker.  The car may be an interesting toy for people who have $100,000 to spend on such a thing, but Fisker will run out of those people quickly, and how tolerant of glitches will those people be?”  He probably was referring to the recent recall to fix the battery cooling system.

The current issue for Fisker is the DOE $529 million in loans granted to Fisker in June 2009.   The first part, $169 million was for engineering of the Karma and the second part of$360 million for the development of the NINA, a mid-sized hybrid to built in the old GM plant in Wilmington, DE.  Fisker, according to Bloomberg, has used $193 million of the loans.  But Fisker stopped work at the old GM plant when the DOE blocked further access to the loan saying that Fisker had not met the required milestones.

The battery supplier for Fisker is A123.   It has had to lay off workers due to the Fisker delays.  A123 is also an investor in Fisker.  A share of A123 stock closed on the 28 Feb at $1.91.  The 52-week range is $1.51 to $9.60.  Earnings per share are   $-1.88.

A posting late last year by Discovery asked: IS FISKER A ‘GREEN CAR’ SOLYNDRA SCANDAl? The author, John Voelker, GreenCarReports.com said:   “We’d like to see three specific questions answered.

— Since Fisker backers have contributed to Democratic party causes, is there any hard evidence of improper influence over the DoE loan process by the White House?

— How did Fisker come to select a closed assembly plant located in Vice President Joe Biden’s home state, since Delaware is no longer an obvious place to build cars?

— What steps does the DoE take to monitor compliance with the loan terms–and why won’t it release the revised terms of the Fisker loans?”

Good questions.

cbdakota

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