Lu Guanqiu, the chairman and founder of China’s Wanxiang Group bought bankrupt US automaker Fisker, maker of the plug-in hybrid Karma luxury model, and now plans to deliver new electric cars.
So far, at the top of the luxury EV sales charts sits unchallenged Tesla’s Model S – with the only feathery competition coming from two plug-in hybrids, the Cadillac ELR and Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid.
“I’ll put every cent that Wanxiang earns into making electric vehicles,” Lu said at Wanxiang’s headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. “I’ll burn as much cash as it takes to succeed, or until Wanxiang goes bust.”
“Fisker brings a unique edge and owning the company no doubt benefits Wanxiang in terms of gaining access to technologies that would otherwise take them years to develop,” said Harry Chen, an automotive analyst. “To succeed it ultimately has to start production in China and manufacturing in U.S. is just a stepping stone.”
Wanxiang is China’s largest auto-parts maker, and is now moving to become an automaker after it bought the assets of Fisker Automotive Holdings – a failed start-up that developed the $103,000 Karma plug-in hybrid sports car, built in Finland. The new company now stresses it aims to use an abandoned GM facility in Wilmington, Delaware – included in the estate – as the production base for a revival of the Karma and later on add new plug-in hybrid models.