Published on March 20th, 2013 | by Christopher DeMorro
Fisker Walked Out Over Funding, Operating Budget
Speculation over Henrik Fisker’s sudden departure from the company bearing his name has centered around the plan to court Chinese investors. But a new report suggests that the differences between Fisker and CEO Tony Posawatz went much deeper than that, with the two pitching very different visions of the green car company’s future.
According to two sources interviewed by Reuters, Henrik Fisker wanted to avoid utilizing anymore of the $529 million U.S. backed green energy loans. The Feds cut off Fisker’s access to the funding due to delays with the Fisker Karma launch and Atlantic development. Instead, Fisker looked to court Chinese investors, while downsizing the company with a much smaller operating budget.
In short, Henrik Fisker wanted the Fisker to become a much smaller, niche automaker. Posawatz apparently saw it differently.
Posawatz wanted to draw down the remaining $336 million of the U.S. loan, court Chinese investors, and open the Fisker plant in Delaware, one of the conditions of the government loan. This will make Fisker a much bigger automaker, with an operating budget hundreds of millions of dollars more than its founder wanted to pursue.
Apparently Posawatz won out, though Fisker wasn’t the only casualty in this dustup. Chinese automaker Geely has backed out of bidding on Fisker, leaving Dongfeng (which is mostly owned by the Chinese government) to be the sole interested party, and again the Delaware plant appears to be the crux of the problem. If Dongfeng backs out as well, what options are left to a company without its founder or funding?