Fisker may build tech center in Michigan

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Courtesy of The Detroit News

Startup electric vehicle automaker Fisker Automotive Inc. is to announce today it will build a technical center in the Midwest, and said it is considering Michigan.

The move is aimed at bringing the company’s engineers closer to the heart of the auto industry. Michigan also is home to many battery plants and electric-vehicle engineers.

California-based Fisker said the new technical center will open next spring and said “Southeastern Michigan is one of the potential locations, paving the way for ongoing development of its second model line, the Fisker Atlantic.”

The company said the move will bring Fisker “closer to key component suppliers and low-emission technical expertise at the heart of the American automotive industry. It will also be closer to Fisker’s intended production facility for the Atlantic in Delaware.”

Fisker had a technical center in Pontiac from fall 2008 through spring 2010, as final development and engineering was completed on the Fisker Karma sedan, which sells for nearly $100,000.

“We brought the Fisker Karma to market in record time with the help of our previous Michigan technical facility, and now is the time to open up a permanent technical center to support the final Atlantic development,” said Fisker Executive chairman and co-founder Henrik Fisker.

In 2009, Fisker won $529 million in low-cost Energy Department loans.

It has drawn $193 million, mostly for use in developing the Fisker Karma that was designed and engineered in the United States but assembled in Finland.

The Energy Department froze the rest of the loan last year amid talks about the company’s business plan. Last month, it told investors it was pushing back production of its Atlantic by at least two years. Fisker spokesman Roger Ormisher said the company’s policy is to “under promise” and “over deliver.”

In August, the company replaced its CEO, Tom LaSorda, with Tony Posawatz, a former General Motors executive.

Fisker Automotive is evaluating locations in the Midwest and intends to announce further details of the technical center’s location and expected staffing levels early next year.

“This important step signals our commitment to bringing the Fisker Atlantic to market as soon as we can,” Posawatz said. “We will be bringing our own engineering footprint closer to our supplier base and the expertise and professional workforce that have driven the American automotive industry for more than a century.”

In April, Fisker said it was delaying production of its next-generation family sedan and may not build the vehicle in Wilmington, Del., after suffering several setbacks with its first plug-in hybrid batteries.

The vehicles were to start rolling out of the plant late this year.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20121115/AUTO01/211150388#ixzz2CLvy0MaM

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