Fisker idles Karma production until A123 battery plant is sold image

Fisker Automotive announced it will idle production of its plug-in hybrid Karma sedan until the sale of the A123 plant that makes batteries for the Karma.

A123 Systems Inc., Fisker’s sole battery supplier, filed for bankruptcy in October and halted Karma production in October, said Fisker CEO Tony Posawatz at the Los Angeles Auto Show. On December 6, A123 will sell its assets at an auction, including the Michigan plant. Johnson Controls and Chinese company Wanxiang Group are expected to be among bidders.

“Because we have no batteries, there’s no production right now. Inventory is starting to get a little low. We’d like to restart production as quickly as possible. We should know the outcome of the auction by the middle of December,” Posawatz told Bloomberg.

The battery issue is the latest challenge for Fisker’s goal of becoming profitable from the $103,000 Karma sedan. So far, the company started by former Aston Martin designer Henrik Fisker faced several problems, including delivery delays, tight funds and flaws that led to recalls of A123 batteries and cooling fans.

The Karma received an unfavorable review from Consumer Reports magazine and the company was also criticized by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who labeled it as a recipient of low-cost federal loans.