Last week, Fisker Automotive lost its namesake and co-founder Henrik Fisker because of "several major disagreements" between the designer-turned-automaker and other executives. After that blow, could there be any more bad news out there? Maybe, if you consider the mooted takeover of the California-based plug-in luxury automaker by the Chinese Zhejiang Geely Holding Group a good thing.
Geely is reportedly no longer interested in buying up a majority stake in Fisker, according to Reuters, which cites "two sources familiar with the matter." Just a few weeks ago, Geely was considered the favored bidder, with the Chinese state-owned Dongfeng Motor Group Co. the other major contender. Geely purchased Sweden's Volvo brand from Ford in 2010.
Reuters now reports that Dongfeng's final offer was submitted last week and that Geely will pass on making an offer at all. This doesn't necessarily mean that Dongfeng's bid to take over the stricken automaker will be accepted, but it would seem to have a better shot if it's the sole serious offer on the table.
As with the sale of A123 (Fisker's battery supplier) to Chinese company Wanxiang, not everyone is happy about Fisker potentially being sold to a Chinese company. Earlier, US Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said, "Technology developed with American taxpayer subsidies should not be sold off to China." Fisker was given a $528.7-million loan from the Department of Energy in 2009, but most of that money (all but around $200 million) was frozen because of problems at Fisker. According to an Automotive News report, Geely is walking away from the deal because it doesn't want the hassle of dealing with the complex nature of the DOE loan's conditions.
UPDATE: Fisker tells AutoblogGreen that the company is "still talking to multiple partners" but cannot "offer comment on individual negotiations due to the confidential nature of all the discussions."