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Electric Car Startup Fisker Buys GM Plant to Build Midsize Car

Posted: Oct 28, 2009 10:37 a.m.

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).

Few specifics about the planned car are known, but Kicking Tires reports, "Ironically, the vehicle would directly compete with GM's upcoming Chevy Volt." 

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."

If you're in the market for a new car, check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars as well as this month's best car deals.