http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS164054+27-Oct-2009+PRN20091027New York Times said:DETROIT — Fisker Automotive, a small California-based manufacturer of luxury vehicles, is expected to reveal on Tuesday its plans to build plug-in hybrid electric cars at a former General Motors plant in Delaware.
The White House said that Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was scheduled to visit the plant, near his hometown, Wilmington, for an announcement about its future. G.M. closed the plant, which was the last automotive factory on the East Coast, in July as part of its postbankruptcy restructuring.
Fisker’s plans will be the first major redevelopment of a piece of the old G.M., which is now a separate company charged with disposing of unwanted assets to repay G.M.’s creditors. It also will be among the rare instances in which an automotive plant has resumed building vehicles after being shuttered. Most are eventually torn down or converted to other uses.
“Were that to happen, that would be good news all the way around, including for the creditors and the estate and the community,” said Tim Yost, a spokesman for AlixPartners, the restructuring firm handling old G.M.’s liquidation. Mr. Yost declined to confirm a deal with Fisker or to comment on Mr. Biden’s announcement.
Officials from Fisker did not respond to a request for comment, but two people directly familiar with the deal confirmed that Fisker was planning to reopen the plant, which spans about 3.2 million square feet. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it before Tuesday’s announcement.
Fisker’s chief executive, Henrik Fisker, said last week during a visit to Detroit that his company had selected a plant in the United States where it wants to build a $48,000 hybrid car. Mr. Fisker, who started his company two years ago, said the plant would assemble as many as 100,000 of the cars each year and employ about 1,500 workers, though he did not identify any possible locations.
In September, the Department of Energy awarded Fisker a $528 million loan to accelerate work on that car, known only as “Project Nina,” and another hybrid, the $89,000 Fisker Karma, which is to be built in Finland starting next year and eventually in the United States.
The G.M. plant opened in 1947 and most recently built three relatively low-volume, two-seater convertibles: the Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Sky and Opel GT. It was closed as G.M. prepared to discontinue Pontiac and Saturn and to sell the European Opel brand, and it followed the December closure of Delaware’s other auto plant, in nearby Newark, by Chrysler.
Together, the two plants employed about 2,000 workers and supported thousands of other jobs in the region.
The University of Delaware said on Saturday that it had signed a deal to buy the 272-acre Chrysler plant site, which is across the street from its main campus, for $24.25 million. The university plans to use the site for a research and development campus and for future expansion.
“Both of those plants have been the backbone of the working-class manufacturing sector of our county for 60 years,” said Chris *****, the executive of New Castle County, which includes Wilmington and Newark. “Losing both plants within six months of each other was a huge blow. Reopening and revitalizing them is a genuine ray of sunshine in a time when we need it.”
Reuters said:WILMINGTON, Del., Oct. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Fisker Automotive has selected the
Wilmington Assembly plant in Wilmington Delaware to build affordable plug-in
Fisker executives made the announcement inside the dormant facility today,
joined by Vice President Joe Biden, Delaware Governor Jack Markell and other
The plant will support Fisker Automotive's Project NINA, the development and
build of an affordable, family-oriented plug-in hybrid sedan costing about
$39,900 after federal tax credits.
Production is scheduled to begin in late 2012. Fisker Automotive anticipates
Project NINA will ultimately create or support 2,000 factory jobs and more
than 3,000 vendor and supplier jobs by 2014, as production ramps up to full
capacity of 75,000-100,000 vehicles per year. More than half will be
exported, the largest percentage of any domestic manufacturer.
The modernized Wilmington Assembly plant was selected for its size, production
capacity, world-class paint facilities, access to shipping ports, rail lines
and available skilled workforce.
"This is a major step toward establishing America as a leader of advanced
vehicle technology," said Henrik Fisker, CEO. "Wilmington is perfect for high
quality, low volume production and will soon be the proud builder of
world-class, fuel-efficient Fisker plug-in hybrids."
Fisker Automotive has signed a letter of intent with Motors Liquidation Co.
(MLC), formerly known as General Motors Corp. to purchase the Wilmington plant
for $18 million after a routine four-month evaluation period.
An additional $175 million will be spent to refurbish and retool the factory
over the next three years.
Funds will come from a conditional loan of $528.7M the Department of Energy
awarded the company in September.
The loan is part of the $25B Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan
program (ATVM) appropriated by Congress in 2007 to help the United States lead
in the development and manufacturing of advanced technology vehicles.
The company's first car, the Fisker Karma, will be the world's first
production plug-in hybrid when it goes on sale this summer at retailers in the
U.S. and Europe.
Fisker plug-in hybrid cars will help remove the country's dependence on
foreign energy by eliminating the need for 42 million barrels of oil by 2016.
They will also offset 8 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
"With our close-knit business, government, and educational communities and our
potential to respond rapidly to new opportunities, today's announcement is a
testament to what works best in Delaware. Fisker is a perfect partner in
shaping Delaware's economic future, and we are thrilled that the vehicle that
can reshape the automobile industry will be built here in Delaware, by
Delaware workers." said Governor Jack Markell (D-Delaware).
Gary Casteel, UAW director responsible for the plant, said, "It gives me great
pride to give UAW Local 435 workers the opportunity to partner with Fisker
Automotive to create a greener America by building a plug-in hybrid car that
will compete globally."