It appears that Wanxiang America's $149.2-million acquisition bid was about more than just owning the assets of Fisker Automotive. The Chinese auto parts maker is apparently serious about getting the Karma plug-in hybrid luxury vehicle back on the production line.
"We will want to get the Karma back online as quickly as possible," Pin Ni, president of Wanxiang America, told The Boston Globe. More details will likely be released by Wanxiang now that US Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross has officially approved the purchase. Gross was satisfied that the purchase price includes a 20-percent stake in Fisker for creditors valued at $15 million – something that was not addressed by the original bids from Wanxiang and Hong Kong-based Hybrid Tech Holdings. Wanxiang also owns the maker of the Karma's lithium battery pack, A123 Systems.
"We will want to get the Karma back online as quickly as possible."
Creditors were delighted to see Wanxiang's bid, according to attorney William Baldiga, whose law firm represented creditors. "The value is six times what [Fisker] said it was worth when it filed for bankruptcy," Baldiga said, describing the negotiations as "two and a half days of yelling, screaming, bidding."
In documents that Wanxiang filed with the federal court in January, Wanxiang mentioned a three-phase plan: building a hatchback version of the Fisker Atlantic (pictured above); restarting production of the Karma at Valmet in Finland, the plant where all the Karmas have so far been built; and then moving production to VL Automotive's manufacturing facility in Michigan. That means Bob Lutz, ex-General Motors vice chairman, could come back into the picture. In the first part of 2013, Lutz and Wanxiang tried to purchase Fisker. Lutz has as ownership stake in VL Automotive and wants to put small-block Corvette V8 engines into Karma bodies, calling the resulting vehicle the Destino. Wanxiang has said VL is the "soul of Fisker," so now that the company has the body, the revival can't be far behind.