Struggling electric car maker Fisker Automotive Inc. has laid off 160 employees, including its public relations staff, as it struggles with financial and production problems.
Fisker had about 200 employees prior to today’s action. The company has kept – for now – 53 senior managers and executives, most likely to work on finding buyers for the company’s assets and wind things down in an orderly way.
Fisker Automotive has raised $1.2 billion in equity from investors and in April 2010 it started receiving payments on a loan of up to $529 million from the Department of Energy.
Of the $529 million loan, the company apparently only had access to $193 million because it failed to meet certain milestones. The remaining $336 million are presumably still with the DOE.
Fisker has been making repayments on the loan interest for several years, but the first sizeable repayment of the principle is due at the end of April.
Its efforts to find an investor in China also stalled. Last week, China’s carmaker Dongfeng Motor Group Co. that had considered buying a stake in Fisker said those discussions were over.
Fisker has faced many challenges over the past month, including the abrupt resignation in March of its founder, Henrik Fisker, over “several major disagreements” with top management.
The company, which makes the $103,000 Karma plug-in hybrid, has not produced a car since July and is seeking a financial backer to help finish the development of a second plug-in hybrid, the Atlantic, and produce it at a Delaware plant.
Fisker has delivered around 2,500 Karma plug-in hybrids globally.