Lu Guanqiu, the chairman of supplier Wanxiang Group, is in a talkative mood.
At a July 25 press conference in Washington, he shakes hands and exchanges laughs with a gaggle of Chinese colleagues. A lone photographer furiously snaps photos.
He tells the reporters about his White House meeting that day with Vice President Joe Biden. Lu briefed him about his plans to revive Fisker Automotive Holdings Inc., whose former General Motors assembly plant is in Biden's home state, Delaware.
In February, Lu had won an auction for Fisker, paying $149.2 million for the assets of the bankrupt producer of plug-in hybrid cars. Now, he was wrapping up a weeklong visit to the United States to raise his company's profile with key politicians and drum up support for his turnaround plan.
His plan is nothing if not ambitious. If he can pull the right strings -- and work out the many engineering kinks in the Fisker Karma -- the former bicycle repairman will bring the sleek plug-in hybrid back to life. That would establish Wanxiang as a high-profile coach-builder in the prestigious U.S. market.
Those are big ifs. But Lu is not accustomed to failure.
Lu's U.S. visit included a stop in suburban Detroit, where he met Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder at the headquarters of A123 Systems Inc., a once-bankrupt maker of lithium ion batteries that Wanxiang acquired in 2013.
Lu followed that with a visit to Delaware -- home to the shuttered Wilmington assembly plant that someday might produce Fisker cars -- where he met Delaware Gov. Jack Markell.