Skip to main content

Fisker Automotive soap opera continues, as Wanxiang makes last-minute bid

fisker karma motion
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The complicated tale of Fisker Automotive continues.

The story of the bankrupt automotive startup sometimes resembles a soap opera more than anything else. In late November, Fisker was bought by Hong Kong-based Hybrid Technology Holdings, which agreed to pay $25 million toward the carmaker’s outstanding Department of Energy loan debt.

Now, Chinese automotive supplier Wanxiang is making an offer of its own. And Fisker isn’t happy.

Wanxiang is China’s largest maker of car parts, and it owns A123 Systems (now cleverly called B456), which made the batteries for the Fisker Karma extended-range electric sedan. The company put in a last-minute bid of $24.75 million, according to Reuters.

According to AutoBlog Green, Wanxiang has proposed restarting production of the Karma, finally getting the smaller Atlantic onto assembly lines, and even adding a third variant, an Atlantic hatchback.

Court documents also mention moving Karma production from Valmet’s facility in Finland to VL Automotive’s Michigan plant.

VL is the startup backed by former General Motors car czar Bob Lutz that plans to build a Corvette V8-powered Karma hot rod called the Destino. VL and Wanxiang collaborated on an attempt to buy Fisker, but ultimately lost out to Hybrid Technology Holdings.

The winning bidder hasn’t discussed any plans for Fisker, preferring to keep everything under wraps.

Fisker is urging U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Kevin Gross to deny Wanxiang’s bid. The company claims that – as master of A123 Systems – Wanxiang cut off its supply of batteries, saying the Chinese concern “seeks to profit from a bankruptcy it helped cause.”

A hearing to determine whether Fisker would go to Hybrid Technology Holdings or Wanxiang was scheduled for today, but it’s been postponed due to the heavy snow that’s blanketed much of the Northeast.

Fisker declared bankruptcy after an 18-month production shutdown triggered by the bankruptcy of A123. Two high-profile recalls and other financial issues kept the carmaker from getting back on its feet.

Eventually, co-founder Henrik Fisker left the company, which subsequently laid off most of its employees in anticipation of reorganization. The DOE began seeking a buyer for Fisker’s outstanding $168 million low-interest loan debt late last year.

Editors' Recommendations

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
Mercedes-Benz G580 vs Rivian R2: Is the much cheaper Rivian actually better?
2025 Mercedes-Benz G580 from three quarter view.

Mercedes-Benz has finally taken the wraps off of the new "Mercedes-Benz G580 with EQ Technology." Yeah, it's a mouthful, but it's basically a new electric G-Wagon. It looks a lot like the G-Wagon you know and love, but with an electric powertrain and a battery. It's not the only electric SUV out there, however, and there are some great ones -- like the Rivian R2.

Both the Mercedes G580 and the Rivian R2 have a lot going for them, but they also approach the electric SUV slightly differently. Is one better than the other? I put the two head-to-head to find out.
Design
The approach that the two vehicles take to design is quite different -- and you might like one better than the other.

Read more
Mercedes-Benz G580 vs GMC Hummer EV: rugged EVs face off
2025 Mercedes-Benz G580 from three quarter view.

There's finally an electric G-Wagon. Mercedes-Benz unveiled the new vehicle, officially called the Mercedes-Benz G580 with EQ Technology, after months of rumors and camouflaged sightings. But it's not the only rugged electric vehicle out there. In fact, there are quite a few EVs that could be considered rugged -- like the Rivian R1S, the Rivian R2, and, of course, the Hummer EV.

But how do the Mercedes-Benz G580 and GMC Hummer EV compare? Is one a better rugged electric vehicle than the other? Here's a look at the two vehicles, head to head.
Design
If you love the look of recent-generation G-Wagons, you'll love the look of the new G580. To be sure, it isn't exactly the same as other recent models, but it's certainly close, with a squared-off design and sharp corners. It keeps the metallic ladder frame panels and the flat roofline, and it's available in a variety of colors.

Read more
The Kia EV3 could be the cheap electric SUV we’ve been waiting for
White Kia EV3

The Kia EV9 was already one of the cheapest ways to get an electric SUV, but now the company is taking things to the next level. After teasing the Kia EV3 last year, the car is now official.

The EV3 is built to be a slightly smaller, cheaper version of the EV9 -- following the path of the Rivian R2, which arrived after the Rivian R1S. It's certainly not as technologically advanced as the EV9, but it still looks unmistakably like a modern Kia, and is clearly a sibling of the larger SUV. On the outside, the vehicle has the same split taillights and very similar Tiger Face front. But it is quite a bit smaller. The vehicle will be available in nine finishes -- however only "Aventurine Green" and "Terracotta" are being announced right now.

Read more