ANAHEIM, CA - According to a Reuters report, Fisker Automotive, the maker of the $100,000-plus Karma hybrid sports car, aims to raise about $150 million in additional funds to tide the company over until it can launch production of its second model. The company has already raised more than $1 billion in private financing from venture backers and others since its founding in 2007. But earlier this year, Fisker was denied access to more than half of a $529-million government loan that was the cornerstone of its business plan.

"We need money on our balance sheet" to fund operating expenses, said Ray Lane, a Fisker director and a managing partner at venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. "And we need money to fund the development of the next car." Although it has raised more than $400 million in venture funds in the past 12 months, Fisker needs at least another $150 million to reach breakeven and may go back to investors again in 2013 for more money, Lane said in an interview.

Once Fisker breaks even, the company could pursue an initial public offering or a sale to a strategic investor, which could come in late 2013, Lane said.

Fisker originally had planned to replace its government-backed loan with high-yield debt plus equity, but shelved that plan in favor of simply raising more equity, Lane said. Fisker spokesman Roger Ormisher declined to comment to Reuters on the company's financial plans.

Executive Shuffle

The company also named Tony Posawatz, the former head of the Volt program at General Motors as its new Chief Executive Officer. A well-known automotive industry professional with more than 30 years of experience in product development, strategy, program management, manufacturing and quality, Posawatz's last role was as GM's Vehicle Line Director and key leader of Global Electric Vehicle development, where he was responsible for the Chevrolet Volt – bringing the car from concept to production.

"We are delighted to be adding an executive of Tony's caliber to the Fisker Automotive leadership team," said Executive Chairman and Co-Founder Henrik Fisker. "His depth of knowledge and experience in this innovative field of new technology means that he is one of the world's most experienced leaders in vehicle electrification technology and the plug-in ecosystem. In the long-term he will ensure that Fisker is well positioned to maximize the potential of not only the Karma sedan, but also bring the Fisker Atlantic smoothly to market."

Fisker also hired Joseph Chao as Executive Vice President and CEO of China and Asia. Chao brings more than 30 years of engineering, manufacturing and international business operations knowledge from GM, Chrysler and Daimler Chrysler where he served as President and CEO of Beijing Benz Ltd. Most recently, he served as President and CEO of SG Automotive in China and will now pave the way for Fisker's entry into the Chinese market later in 2012.

Alberto Gonzalez was appointed  Vice President of Manufacturing. Gonzalez also brings more than 30 years of global automotive manufacturing and assembly experience from Chrysler where he operated high-volume assembly plants in the US, Mexico and Canada.

"With these new appointments, we are sending a strong signal about Fisker Automotive and our future plans to develop the next generation of powertrain technology, bring more new Fisker products to market and expand our global sales footprint," said Fisker. "Since the turn of the year we have strengthened our core executive leadership team with experienced industry professionals who will take Fisker to the next level. With Tony Posawatz as CEO, Jim Yost as CFO, Barny Koehler as Co-Founder and Chief Business Development Officer, Richard Beattie as Chief Commercial Officer and Joe Chao as CEO of China and Asia I believe we have an unbeatable team that can establish Fisker as a true global force and bring the highly anticipated Fisker Atlantic to market."

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Toni McQuilken


Toni McQuilken is the managing editor for AE Magazine and P&A Magazine. She has a decade of editorial experience in the trade publishing world, across several industries, including print and graphics, as well as hospitality and technology. To contact her, e-mail [email protected].

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