DOVER, Del. – Fisker Automotive, a California-based startup manufacturer of luxury electric vehicles, plans to build plug-in electric cars at a former General Motors assembly plant in Delaware, people with knowledge of the situation said Friday.
Henrik Fisker, the company's co-founder and chief executive, said Tuesday that an announcement about the location of a manufacturing facility was in the works. He declined to elaborate on the site but appeared to rule out a California facility where Toyota plans to halt production in March 2010.
"We'll be making an official announcement on Tuesday, and a senior White House official may be involved," Fisker spokesman Russell Datz said Friday, declining to provide any other details.
A person who has knowledge of the situation but didn't want to be identified because an announcement has not been made, confirmed that Fisker has settled on GM's Boxwood Road facility in Wilmington.
A state government official, who also didn't want to be identified because there's been no announcement, described the deal as "99 percent" complete.
"So it looks like it's going to be a go," said the official, who has been briefed on discussions involving the GM plant. Until it closed this summer, the plant produced the Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice roadsters, as well as an Opel version that was exported to Europe.
Joe Rogalsky, a spokesman for Gov. Jack Markell, declined to comment Friday.
"We don't comment on potential economic development opportunities," he said.
Tim Yost, a spokesman for Motors Liquidation Co., a conglomeration of the old GM's liabilities and underperforming assets, declined to comment.
Fisker recently received approval for a $528.7 million government loan to develop plug-ins and is expected to release its first vehicle, the Karma, in the summer of 2010.
The Karma will be built in Finland, but the next-generation plug-in, under a program called Project Nina, will be built at the U.S. facility, with an annual production of about 100,000 vehicles. Project Nina cars, whose production will be supported by about $359 million in government loans, will sell for about $40,000 and are expected to reach showrooms by 2012.
Fisker officials have said the company expects to export half of its Project Nina vehicles, suggesting that access to the nearby Port of Wilmington could have been a factor in choosing the Delaware site.
Michael Robinet, a vice president at CSM Worldwide, an auto industry consulting firm near Detroit, noted that the Wilmington plant also is geared toward the kind of low-volume production sought by Fisker and would come with a trained work force.
Sources: Fisker to build plug-in cars in Delaware - Yahoo! News