Good news for potential owners in Europe waiting for the opportunity to purchase a Fisker Karma or Nina in the future.
Fisker Automotive has signed a deal with a European auto group with more than 100 stores in six countries to sell the company's plug-in hybrid electric cars.
The startup automaker, which plans to build its second line of vehicles at the Boxwood Road plant near Newport, said the partnership with the Emil Frey Group gives the company "a strong operational base" in Europe.
Fisker's first car, an $87,900 luxury sedan called the Karma, is scheduled to hit showrooms in June.
The Emil Frey Group, based in Switzerland, has retail outlets in Switzerland, Germany, France, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. The dealer group, founded in 1924, sells multiple brands, including luxury marques such as BMW and Jaguar.
"This partnership will allow Fisker to deliver the Karma to European markets through an established and proven retailer network," Marti Eulberg, Fisker's vice president of global sales and marketing, said in a statement.
Fisker has inked agreements with U.S. dealers to sell its cars at 45 locations, including Union Park Automotive Group in Wilmington. The company also has signed distribution deals with the Nellemann Group in Copenhagen and GP Supercars in Merano, Italy.
"Our long-term goals are to be in other markets as well, including Asia and the Middle East," Fisker spokesman Russell Datz said.
Fisker, founded in 2007 and based in Irvine, Calif., is one of a handful of startup companies looking to develop hybrid or all-electric vehicles that can be recharged by plugging them into an electrical outlet. Big automakers like General Motors, Ford and Nissan are developing their own electric models.
Last week, Fisker announced plans to spend more than $200 million to buy and renovate the Boxwood Road plant, dormant since July when General Motors ended production there. Fisker's plans are backed by a $528.7 million loan approved in September by the U.S. Department of Energy as part of a program to encourage the development of fuel-efficient vehicles.
Fisker intends to use the local plant to build its next car, a family sedan being developed under the name Project Nina. The car is expected to sell for about $40,000 after a federal tax credit.
The Karma will initially be built in Finland by specialty automaker Valmet Automotive. The company says it has received more than 1,500 advance orders for the sports car. Karma production would shift to Boxwood Road in 2016.