Orange County Business Journal

Fisker CEO Talks IPO

Chris Casacchia Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The new chief executive of Anaheim-based luxury hybrid automaker Fisker Automotive Inc. told an industry gathering that he’d like to take the company public.

Tony Posawatz also said Fisker has had discussions with other automakers about strategic partnerships on bringing its more affordable Atlantic to market.

Fisker’s first model is the Karma luxury-hybrid sedan, which retails for about $100,000.

Posawatz’ comments came during an Automotive Press Association luncheon in Detroit on Oct. 1.

Last week Fisker announced a $100 million funding round involving undisclosed investors, bringing its total to $1.2 billion.

Fisker has delivered more than 1,000 Karmas, which feature an advanced power train that combines an electric motor with a gas-powered engine.

The Karma has received some design awards but has also drawn criticism over production snags.

Fisker missed sales and production goals tied to its $529 million loan from the U.S. Energy Department. Fisker has received $193 million of the $529 million loan from the federal agency, according to the company, with the remaining $336 million now subject to renegotiation.

The Karma has encountered other difficulties. A battery defect that was discovered earlier this year is expected to eventually affect most Karma owners and future buyers.

The manufacturing defect that caused the troubles was traced to a Livonia, Mich., plant run by A123 Systems Inc., Fisker’s lithium-ion battery pack supplier. Fisker said it will replace batteries as needed.

“We do not deny there have been mishaps along the way,” Posawatz told the Detroit News after the association luncheon. “But people are recognizing the improvements of the product.”

Posawatz joined Fisker in August in the latest executive change at the carmaker. He previously worked at General Motors Corp., where he helped bring the Chevrolet Volt to market.

Fisker owns an auto plant in Delaware—purchased from General Motors during its bankruptcy—and had planned to shift production there from a contract manufacturer in Finland.

Those plans have been on hold since the Department of Energy froze its loan.