What LaSorda's know-how brings to troubled Fisker
NEW YORK -- Former Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda brings a dose of hard-nosed management to his role as CEO of electrified vehicle startup Fisker Automotive.
During the unveiling of a prototype of Fisker's next model, the Atlantic, on the eve of the New York auto show, LaSorda discussed the troubled car company's condition, saying:
LaSorda: Fisker is moving forward.
-- Fisker might find another plant -- possibly outside the United States -- to build the Atlantic if federal loan money for outfitting the former General Motors plant in Wilmington, Del., is withheld.
"We're still looking at Wilmington as our primary choice right now," he told reporters.
-- After Fisker engineers pinpointed the battery pack flaw that caused the Fisker Karma to shut down during Consumer Reports testing, LaSorda spent 3 1/2 hours at battery maker A123 Systems' suburban Detroit plant finding the manufacturing glitch.
"They're absorbing the replacement cost," LaSorda said.
-- Although negotiations continue with the U.S. Department of Energy over the company's Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan, which was frozen after Fisker failed to meet production milestones, the company will plan to go ahead without it: "On Jan. 3, I told the company, 'Let's assume we don't get it.'"
LaSorda also said that Fisker is open to alliances with other automakers as it pushes toward production of the Atlantic, a sporty sedan with a new version of the plug-in hybrid powertrain in the company's first car, the Karma.
"We'll be talking to other companies, for sure," LaSorda said.
He said that the company, which has raised about $1 billion in private-equity funding, including $132 million in March, will bring the Atlantic to production. Fisker officials would not disclose the production timetable, price or volume projections.
But, LaSorda said: "We're going to build the car. We're going to launch it with or without the DOE funding."
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