Orange County Business Journal

Fisker Closes $115M Financing Round

Chris Casacchia Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Anaheim-based luxury hybrid auto developer Fisker Automotive Inc. has closed a $115 million financing round after securing an additional $15 million from private investors.

The third round financing will be used to help launch Fisker's second model, the mid-range Nina sedan.

The funding comes on the heels of a delay for its highly-touted luxury sedan Karma, which was expected to be delivered to showrooms and individual customers this month.

Some 3,000 orders for the Karma are on backlog. The first cars off the assembly line were initially expected to be shipped in June to about 40 dealers in the U.S. and Europe in a simultaneous launch, officials said.

Irvine-based Shelly Automotive Group is a Fisker dealer.

Fisker spokesman Roger Ormisher recently told GreenCarReports the first dealer and customer cars will be delivered in July, a slight stumble for a company hawked by industry watchers and hybrid car and alternative fuel advocates.

The Karma starts at about $96,000.

2011 is a big year for Fisker and the hybrid car industry, with several models due to hit the showroom floor and test consumers' appetites for new alternative fuel vehicles with various price ranges.

In April, Fisker moved its headquarters from Irvine to Anaheim.

The latest financing round comes two months after the automaker secured $190 million from investors and began production on its Karma sedan.

With investor financing and government money, Fisker has raised more than $1 billion to develop luxury cars that run on rechargeable batteries with backup gas engines.

The company’s funding includes a $529 million Energy Department loan and $21.5 million in grants and loans from the state of Delaware.

Earlier this year, Fisker bought the 3.2 million-square-foot Wilmington Assembly plant in Delaware for $20 million in General Motors Co.’s bankruptcy.

General Motors shut down production at the plant in 2009.

Fisker plans to spend $175 million to retool the plant and start production in late 2012 on the Nina, one of two cars it plans to produce there. The initial models of the Karma are being produced on a contract basis in Finland.

Fisker cofounder and Chief Operating Officer Bernhard Koehler in March told a European automotive publication the company hopes to sell 7,000 cars in 2011 and 15,000 in 2012.

That’s a revenue projection of about $670 million this year and $1.4 billion next year.

Fisker is among the county’s most watched startups. Many see the company as the top local prospect for an initial public offering this year.