Fisker to Sell in China, Open to Partner

Danish start-up electric car designer Fisker Automotive is negotiating a deal to sell its luxury, plug-in Karma model in China and remains open to partnerships with larger rivals, Chief Executive Henrik Fisker said on Tuesday.


“We’re going into China in the second half of next year. We’re already finalizing negotiations with a major Chinese distributor,” Fisker told the Reuters Autos Summit in Los Angeles.


Fisker also said that he had some discussions with larger automakers about a “strategic partnership.”


He did not name the other companies involved in those discussions, but said he would be open to considering partners from Europe, Asia or the United States.


Such a deal could parallel the tie-up between start-up Tesla Motors (TSLA.O) and industry-leader Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) announced earlier this year.


“A strategic partnership with somebody, that’s a possibility,” Fisker said. “We have had talks with several car companies about that, but it has to be not only the right timing but the right fit.”


Fisker said the Irvine, California-based auto company he founded three years ago would consider the possibility of an initial public offering of stock after the launch of the Karma in March.


“A lot has to do with the markets,” Fisker said, adding that the strong investor response to the General Motors Co GM.UL IPO was a positive sign.


“I think it’s a good sign, the interest in General Motors, because I think it’s a good sign for the car business in the United States,” he said.


The Karma, which is powered in electric mode by a battery built by A123 Systems (AONE.O), is expected to be priced close to $100,000 in the United States.


The vehicle is designed to have a battery-powered range of 50 miles on average. After that, a gasoline engine kicks in to generate power for the battery.


Fisker has previously said it plans three models for its Karma line and three models for a second, lower-cost line of vehicles dubbed “Project Nina.”


Production of the first Nina vehicle is scheduled for 2012 at a former GM plant in Delaware that Fisker acquired earlier this year backed by $529 million in U.S. Department of Energy loans.


Fisker said the company was considering raising further capital to move faster with the roll-out of additional models.

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