Impact: Fisker Stops Work after U.S. Blocks Loan, Announces Layoffs image

Fisker Automotive, the American automaker based in Anaheim, California on Tuesday said it halted work on a Delaware auto factory to make plug-in sedans after the Energy Department froze access to its credit line.

In addition, the company said it has laid off 26 workers at the auto factory in Wilmington, Del., which is being retooled to make its Nina hybrid. Another 40 contractors and employees who were working on design and development of Fisker’s Karma luxury car in California also have been laid off.

Access to the loan has been blocked since May, said Roger Ormisher, a spokesman.

Fisker said it remains hopeful of renegotiating terms of the loan from the energy department, but will also consider “alternative sources of funding concurrently,” according to spokesperson Roger Ormisher.

“Nina is part of Fisker’s long-term business plan,” he said.

“We’re always in the market for equity,” Ormisher said.

The move highlights Fisker’s continuing problems, which have mounted in recent months — and is a reminiscent of advanced solar panel maker Solyndra and battery-maker Ener1, which received similar federal backing before falling into bankruptcy.

“Our loan guarantees have strict conditions in place to protect taxpayers. The Department only allows the loan to be disbursed as the company meets certain milestones and demonstrates results,” DOE spokesman Damien LaVera said.

“The Department is working with Fisker to review a revised business plan and determine the best path forward so the company can meet its benchmarks, produce cars and employ workers here in America.”

Fisker is a start-up car company working on the development of plug-in hybrid vehicles that can run on just electricity and also on a combination of electric and gasoline power to extend the range of the autos.

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