Fisker Tries to Impress with Karma and get DOE Loan for Nina Sedan image

Fisker Automotive Inc recently presented its new $100, 000-plus Karma luxury electric car, trying to make a good impression less than a month after the start-up company ratcheted down sales projections for its maiden vehicle.

The company hopes to get rid of the production delays and get the $529 million federal loan from the U.S. Department of Energy necessary to bankroll its next model, the Nina sedan.

“Our survival is not dependent on the DOE,” CEO Henrik Fisker said. “We have already looked into alternative financing and we have really good possibilities,” he said without elaborating.

The company already received an $193 million loan to rollout the $102,000 plug-in hybrid sportscar called Karma, and another $336 million loan is needed to help the development of the Nina sedan, which is to be sold at a lower price.

But Fisker declared that he doesn’t want the company to be at the mercy of DOE and last week he announced the company has suspended work at the Delaware assembly plant and laid off 26 employees until the loan terms are renegotiated.

The company missed Karma production and sales targets, delaying several the launch dates before handing the first Karma to Leonardo di Caprio, also a Fisker investor. In December 2011 it recalled 239 Karmas due to a possible defect in batteries. That is why DOE has second thoughts on whether to allow the second loan or not.