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.
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.
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