New Fisker Owner Betting The Farm On Green Success

Mike Stevens | May 20, 2014

The billionaire businessman behind the purchase of beleaguered electric vehicle brand Fisker has vowed to make it a success - or go broke trying.

Founded by designer Henrik Fisker, the Fisker company battled through failed technology alliances and controversial fire issues before finally going bankrupt around one year ago.

Now, new owner Lu Guangiu, with an estimated $3.3 billion fortune to his name, has vowed to spend whatever it takes to transform Fisker into a genuine success and a rival to Tesla Motors, the darling of the electric vehicle movement.

Speaking with business paper Bloomberg this week, Lu said that he will “put every cent Wanxiang earns” - the company he founded in 1969 and used to buy Fisker - into making electric vehicles.

Wanxiang is China’s largest auto-parts maker, and Lu intends to put its experience to use in rebuilding the Fisker brand.

The company has also purchased Fisker’s battery supplier A123, which entered bankruptcy early in 2012.

“I’ll burn as much cash as it takes to succeed, or until Wanxiang goes bust,” Lu said.

Wanxiang has already spent over $800 million developing electric vehicles since 1999, with a focus on electric buses. Some 700 are currently in service in China.

Above: the popular Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid.
Above: the popular Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid.

Taking on Tesla in the passenger car market will take time however, and the American company’s founder - Elon Musk, worth around $9.5 billion - remains committed to making his brand the leader in all-electric vehicles.

Lu has also acknowledged that buying Fisker will not alone ensure success, telling Bloomberg that there are “no shortcuts” in competing against foreign carmakers.

Both billionaires intend to expand their electric brands into the Chinese market, but Lu’s citizenship and nearly 50 year history as a business operator in the communist nation will likely give Fisker a significant advantage there.

MORE: Electric Vehicles and all Green cars

Above: the Tesla Model S, due in Australia this year.
Above: the Tesla Model S, due in Australia this year.

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Filed under: Green, EV, electric, china, News, fisker, industry, lu guanqiu

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  • Lindsay says,
    5 months ago
    When Bob Lutz's VL Automotive hilariously took Fisker Karmas and dropped supercharged V8s in them, the grille was redone and thus the car's only major styling idiosyncrasy was eliminated. The rest of the Karma was very attractive, so I hope it succeeds.
  • hammer
    Hammer says,
    5 months ago
    Years ago I read a comment from a top car executive (can't remember whom now) which stuck with me.

    This executive said, the best way to make a small future in the car business....is to start with a big one. smile

    I think this billionaire business man will become a millionaire business man before he'll make a profit from this venture. I hope he succeeds, as I love the concept and the looks of the car.

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