Dept. of Energy to auction Fisker loan

 (AP Photo/Keystone, Martial Trezzini)

(AP Photo/Keystone, Martial Trezzini)

The U.S. Department of Energy froze Fisker’s loan in 2011 after the company failed to meet performance requirements.  Now, the remainder of the loan will be sold off.

The Energy Department says it is selling a $192 million loan made to struggling electric car maker Fisker Automotive Inc.  The sale, to be held next month, is the latest setback for a half-billion-dollar loan guarantee offered to the California car maker in 2009 as part of the Obama administration’s program to promote green energy.

For years, Fisker Automotive had been touted as a boon to Delaware’s economy, but those hopes have long since faded.  Delaware Governor Jack Markell says the Energy Department announcement wasn’t a surprise.  “We were expecting this for some time now, obviously Fisker had not been able to raise funding for some time.”  

At the least, Markell says the decision to auction the loan provides a path forward. “Some new buyer may come in, some new buyer that may want to build cars in this country, and hopefully if they do [it will be] here in Delaware.”  

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At this point, there’s no indication that the Fisker-owned assembly plant in Newport would be used by whatever company buys the federal loan, but Markell says he’ll make a pitch for that plant to be used.  “We’re certainly going to do whatever we can as somebody buys this loan to make sure they understand all that Delaware has to offer.”

The Obama administration suspended the loan in 2011, after Fisker failed to meet a series of Energy Department benchmarks. Fisker has not produced a vehicle in more than a year and has laid off three-fourths of its workers.

Fisker had received $192 million before the loan was frozen.

The DOE says it has recouped about $28 million since then; the auction will allow the government to collect as much of the remaining $164 million as possible.


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