DETROIT -- Fisker Automotive CEO Tony Posawatz, five weeks into leading the luxury plug-in hybrid carmaker, says the company has a lot of work to do -- and says discussions with strategic partners are "on our radar screen."
One task on his to-do list, Posawatz said on Monday, is to start a leasing program.
The company also wants to improve relationships with its dealers. Fisker's retail network consists of 80 outlets globally, including 48 in North America.
In what Posawatz calls a "hands-on, grass-roots effort," co-founder Henrik Fisker in the next few days will go on a 10-dealer tour of Karma test-drive events to build clientele.
The company will begin to establish its footprint in the Middle East this month and in China in early 2013, Posawatz said.
"We think we're positioned pretty nicely, but like any company in its infancy, we still have so much more foundational work to do. The dealer and retail network is a classic example," he said.
Fisker named Posawatz, the former GM executive who supervised much of the effort to bring the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid to market, as its CEO in mid-August, replacing former Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda.
During Monday's meeting with reporters, Posawatz was asked if Fisker eventually would be acquired. He replied that discussions with "strategic partners" have taken place. It was unclear if acquisition talks are under way.
Posawatz said the company wants to sell the Atlantic -- a mid-sized plug-in hybrid sedan with a price tag in the $55,000 range -- in larger quantities than the $103,000 Karma, which has had some battery problems and recalls.
The CEO said the company, which has raised more than $1 billion from private investors, still intends to build the Atlantic at a former General Motors plant in Wilmington, Del. -- a project that has become a subject of political debate because Delaware is the home state of Vice President Joe Biden.
But Atlantic production plans have been on hold since the U.S. Department of Energy blocked Fisker from accessing a portion of its $529 million loan.
While the future of the Atlantic remains unclear, Posawatz said Karma sales have been positive.
"On the retail sales front, we beat our forecasts for September," he said, adding that Fisker has sold more than 1,000 Karmas so far this year.