Fisker Automotive, a company that plans to begin selling an advanced plug-in hybrid luxury sedan next spring, agreed to buy the former General Motors assembly facility in Wilmington, Del., for $18 million. The Wilmington plant was used to make the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky roadsters. Fisker said it was interested in the plant because of its size and its proximity to rail lines and a port.
The Obama Administration has talked a lot about its goal to develop jobs in the green economy to replace the traditional manufacturing jobs the U.S. has lost, specifically by building electric cars. An announcement today by Vice President Joe Biden marked the beginning of that process.
Fisker will spend an additional $175 million to retool the Wilmington facility to build a new plug-in model that is expected to cost about $48,000 before federal tax rebates. (Fisker’s first model, a luxury four-passenger sedan dubbed the Karma, is expected to cost almost $90,000. It will be built in Finland starting next year.) The company says more than half the production of the new model will be exported.
The $193 million investment came from a $528.7 million loan Fisker received as part of the $25 billion federal Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program (ATVM). The rest of the loan will pay for further development of the Karma and the Project NINA.
The new model, now dubbed Project NINA, is scheduled to begin production in 2014. Once the Wilmington factory is up and running, Fisker optimistically expects to produce 75,000 to 100,000 cars and employ 2,000 factory workers in Biden’s home state, as well as 3,000 supplier jobs.
— Eric Evarts