News Column

Fisker Furloughs 200, Still Seeks Investors

March 28, 2013

Ian Hamilton, The Orange County Register

Hybrid-auto maker Fisker Automotive has furloughed its 200 remaining staffers for a week to save money while the struggling Anaheim company seeks financial partners.

The maker of the $100,000 luxury Karma notified employees earlier this month that Fisker would be instituting temporary furloughs covering the final week of March, company spokesperson Roger Ormisher said.

"I am on furlough too -- all of us are," Ormisher said Wednesday night. "It was five days to this Friday."

The furloughs are the latest in a string of bad news for the automaker.

Henrik Fisker, the company's founder and visionary, resigned two weeks ago, citing conflicts with other top company officials.

Fisker Automotive had 600 employees a year ago, but started cutting staff after halting production of the Karma last summer amid problems with the lithium-ion batteries supplied by A123. The supplier stopped production in October after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The U.S. Department of Energy previously awarded Fisker a $529 million loan, but the government halted the money after the first $193 million because the automaker failed to meet required milestones for progress. The company also has raised more than $1.2 billion in private investment.

Early today, Fisker's Anaheim headquarters was nearly empty, with only three cars in the parking lot.

"In parallel with the process of identifying a strategic partner, Fisker is, of course continuing to manage its day-to-day operations and has recently instituted temporary furloughs for its U.S. workforce covering the final week of March," the company said in a statement. "This is a common practice, particularly in the automotive industry, to manage costs and operations based on current activity levels and commercial requirements."

Register staff writer Mary Ann Milbourn contributed to this report.

Source: (c)2013 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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