Once valued at around $1.4 billion, Fisker Automotive is a husk of its former self, worth just a small fraction of its peak value. With no money left to build cars, Fisker is trying to sell itself to the highest bidder, and so far only Bob Lutz, the Chinese, and Henrik Fisker himself have shown any interest. But the latest suiter comes from Germany, and may be Fisker’s best hope.
Frankfurt-based Fritz Noi AG announced that they’ve put a bid of $25 million in on Fisker, which is round about what Bob Lutz’s VG Automotive and China’s BAIC think the hybrid car company is worth. Why so little?
Because despite having a sexy-as-hell design, the Fisker Karma used mostly off-the-shelf parts from other automakers, and owns very little of its own technology. Whoever buys Fisker basically gets the rights to the name, the car, and future vehicle designs. They’ll also be beholden to suppliers like battery maker B456 Systems (formerly A123 Systems) and General Motors, which makes the four-cylinder engine that serves as the Karma’s generator.
Fritz thinks it can produce up to 2,500 Karmas annually, a far more realistic expectation than Fisker’s own projections that saw it selling over 10,000 units in 2012. In reality, Fisker was barely able to produce over 2,000 vehicles, many of which were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy and some that have still gone unsold.
Eventually, Fritz would like to roll out Fisker’s other planned models, including the Fisker Atlantic and the Karma Sunset convertible. This sounds like Fisker’s best hope of continuing down the path the company had planned, though it remains a longshot. All bids must be approved by the Department of Energy, which is still owed $171 million by Fisker.
Still, I’d love to see Fisker get back on its feet and go back to producing one of the best-looking cars of our time.