The Department of Energy recently put the loan owed by Fisker Automotive up for bid and Hong Kong tycoon Richard Li appears to be the winner of the loan. According to a recent Reuters report, the bidding started at $30 million on the $168 million loan. It’s not clear yet exactly how much was paid by Li’s investment firm.
Li is the son of Asia’s richest man, Hong Kong Billionaire Li Ka-shing. His bid was higher than at least two others, including bids from German investment group Frtiz Nols AG and a team that included Chinese auto parts supplier Wannxiang and former GM Boss Bob Lutz. Sources familiar with the plight of the hybrid-electric car maker say resurrecting Fisker short of bankruptcy would be a long, expensive, and complicated process.
Fisker had originally won a $529 million DOE loan as part of a program to promote green vehicles. But Fisker had suffered delays in launching its key model, the Fisker Karma. Earlier this year several Fisker executives had resigned, including its co-founder, Henrik Fisker. While the Fisker Karma generated a lot of buzz, the automaker never found the traction or success that fellow electric vehicle maker Tesla has found. The DOE has said it will release more details once the deal has been finalized.
In other news regarding the remains of the failed startup, former GM vice president Bob Lutz says that he has secured 25 former Fisker Karma shells that he’s planning on turning into VL Destino sedans, which will have their electric powertrains replaced with GM V-8 engines with between 450 and 638 horsepower. The VL Destino will cost $200,000 or $100,000 plus a pristine-condition Fisker Karma. According to Lutz, the company will have one other, new body style to accompany the sedan as well as possibly an announcement of more cars than the initial 25-unit run. Could we possibly see the Fisker Surf concept wagon make daylight? We’ll know soon enough.