The billionaire who rescued once-bankrupt plug-in hybrid car maker Fisker says he’s prepared to go broke attempting to make the company a success.
Chairman and founder of China’s Wanxiang Group Corp., Lu Guanqui, told Bloomberg he was determined to see The New Fisker build cars in the US and China and sell them around the world after purchasing the company for US$149.2 million ($160.0 million) in February.
“I’ll put every cent that Wanxiang earns into making electric vehicles,” Lu said. “I’ll burn as much cash as it takes to succeed, or until Wanxiang goes bust.”
Wanxiang, China’s largest car parts maker, plans to resume production of the Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid sports car “as fast as possible” before expanding the range with the Atlantic, Surf and Sunset – models created by the old company but ones that never advanced beyond concept stage.
The New Fisker has given no specific timeline for the resumption of production, however, insisting that it will “only start when we are confident in the quality of the cars we produce”.
The life of the Karma was short and turbulent. Originally due to launch in 2009, a series of delays meant production of the US$102,000 ($109,000) sports car did not begin until 2011.
A number of vehicle fires and recalls marred most of its life until production was suspended in November 2012 due to financial issues. Fisker filed for bankruptcy 12 months later.
The New Fisker is working with the team at Valmet to assess whether resuming production in Finland is “the path we should take for future Karma production”. It is also assessing the viability of producing cars at Fisker’s unused Delaware plant in the US.
Lu says US production is the company’s primary focus, and one that he is determined to realise regardless of how long it takes.
“The road is still very long. 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.”