Joint venture makes $20 million bid for ailing electric car firm Fisker Automotive

A joint venture made up of China-based Wanxiang Group, former General Motors head Bob Lutz and industrialist Gilbert Villarreal is offering to buy troubled electric vehicle manufacturer Fisker Automotive in a prepackaged bankruptcy deal worth $20 million, according to reports.

Like Tesla Motors, which recently paid off its loan, Fisker Automotive received $529 million in loans from the Department of Energy (DOE) under the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program.

Unlike Tesla, however, Fisker’s unspent loan money was seized by the DOE when the company failed to make payments or meet production quotas. The company has about $171 million in DOE loans still outstanding.

Fisker was founded in August 2007 by Henrik Fisker, who later left the company citing disagreements over business strategy. Reuters is reporting that Fisker and a Hong Kong-based investor named Richard Li are teaming up to pay off Fisker’s DOE loan and save the carmaker from bankruptcy.

Fisker laid off three-fourths of its workforce in April. The company has its headquarters in Anaheim, California.

According to the company, Fisker was worth roughly $2 billion as recently as 2011.

Fisker’s lone production vehicle, the Karma, has a base price of more than $100,000. The company has not sold a car since July 2012, according to reports.

Wanxiang Group bought Fisker’s former battery maker, A123 Systems, at auction in 2012, following the bankruptcy of that company.

Lutz was quoted in 2008 as saying that the electrification of the automobile is “inevitable.”

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