Over the next few years, we expect to begin seeing some unfamiliar hood ornaments in the rear-view mirror. One of the start-up companies vying to become the future of the American automotive industry just took a big step toward viability.
Edmunds Inside Line reports, "Tiny Fisker Automotive on Tuesday confirmed that it will spend $18 million to buy GM's dormant Wilmington Assembly plant in Delaware to build its plug-in hybrid sedan starting in late 2012." The plant once built the Chevy Malibu, Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Sky and Saturn L-Series cars. Now, "In a dramatic example of how the power balance has shifted in the U.S. auto industry," it will build a plug-in Extended-Range Electric Vehicle that Fisker plans to offer for a price below $40,000 (once federal green car tax credit is applied).
Fisker got the plant for a bargain price. Autoblog reports, "Fisker is paying $18 million for the factory from Motors Liquidation which is the remainder of 'Old GM' which is selling off assets from bankruptcy court." The money will come from a $528 federal loan from the Department of Energy, intended to promote the development of low-emissions vehicles.
That puts the government in an ironic position. Jalopnik notes, "Basically the U.S. government is paying Fisker to buy a shuttered plant from GM," a company majority-owned by the federal government, "so they can use it to develop a Chevy Volt-killing affordable plug-in mid-size sedan."