In a surprise move, Wanxiang Group Corporation, the largest China-based automotive components company measured by revenues made a bid for Fisker Automotive, the maker of Karma plug-in hybrid sports car.
Wanxiang Group has agreed to make an initial bid of $24,7 million. The bid was filed late Monday, and a final hearing has been scheduled for Friday when a judge will decide if the company will be sold to Hybrid Technology LLC, a company affiliated with Richard Li (a Hong Kong billionaire), or hold an open auction.
According to court documents, the Chinese group plans to restart production somewhere in April and move the manufacturing process from Finland to the U.S. in Michigan. On the same time Wanxiang says it would be capable to reduce production costs and sell more than 1,000 Karma plug-in hybrid models in the first 18 months in the U.S. and about 500 in Europe.
If the judge will rule in favor, an auction is expected to be held at the end of January.
Fisker Automotive began selling the Karma luxury model in late July, after the automaker missed the initial launch in late 2009.
The company received a US$528.7 million conditional loan from the U.S. Department of Energy, but after the automaker drawn $192 million, the federal government froze Fisker’s credit line in May 2011 as the company was unable to meet milestones set as conditions for the loan.
In July 2012 Fisker shut down all its operations, and by the end of 2012 the company ceased development of a second model, which according to Fisker was about 90 percent complete.
On November 22, 2013, Fisker filed its Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.
The company built about 2,450 Karmas.