While Henrik Fisker has left the company he founded, Delaware economic development leaders are still working with the company in hopes the Boxwood Road plant will finally produce cars once again.
Director of Delaware’s Economic Development Office Alan Levin says the departure of Henrik Fisker does not indicate a major change of direction for the company. “Henrik is a great designer, a great visionary. The car that he developed is probably the most advanced car on the road today, but design is not Fisker’s problem right now. Their problem is financing.”
Levin says in his job as executive chairman, Henrik has not been running the day-to-day operations at Fisker for months.
DEDO’s outreach to Fisker Automotive has been an on-going process even after the company delayed its planned start of production at the former GM plant in Newport. “We continue to talk with them,” says Levin. “They have been very forthcoming…what they’re trying to do, how they are trying to find a strategic partner and/or an acquirer for the company that will allow them to continue to move forward, and that would mean moving forward in Delaware.”
But Levin wouldn’t say he was optimistic that Fisker would ever build cars in Delaware. “We’ve obviously been patiently awaiting this for a number of years now. We’re hopeful, but each day that goes by, it becomes a little more difficult.”
As for recouping the state’s investment in Fisker should the company never build cars here, Levin says there is still time for Fisker to meet its end of the deal. “Technically, Fisker, if you look at the documents, is not in default of their agreement at this time, because they have until 2015 to create 2,495 jobs. That is what they agreed to.” But time is running out to get all those jobs at the plant. “Obviously, each day that goes by, makes it more difficult to believe that will happen.”
Right now, state leaders are not focused on getting their investment back from Fisker, but rather on making their investment in the car maker pay off in terms of lots of long-term, good-paying jobs. “We would much rather have the jobs and the investment in the state, and that’s why we got into this.”