Fisker to Purchase Former Delaware Saturn Plant to Build Plug-in Hybrid Cars
Fisker Automotive has selected the former GM/Saturn Wilmington Assembly plant in Wilmington, Delaware to build affordable plug-in hybrid cars. Fisker executives made the announcement inside the dormant facility yesterday, joined by Vice President Joe Biden, Delaware Governor Jack Markell and other state officials. The plant will support Fisker Automotive's Project NINA, the development and build of an affordable, family-oriented plug-in hybrid sedan costing about $39,900 after federal tax credits.
Production is scheduled to begin in late 2012. Fisker Automotive anticipates Project NINA will ultimately create or support 2,000 factory jobs and more than 3,000 vendor and supplier jobs by 2014, as production ramps up to full capacity of 75,000-100,000 vehicles per year. More than half will be exported, the largest percentage of any domestic manufacturer. The modernized Wilmington Assembly plant was selected for its size, production capacity, world-class paint facilities, access to shipping ports, rail lines and available skilled workforce.
"This is a major step toward establishing America as a leader of advanced vehicle technology," said Henrik Fisker, CEO. "Wilmington is perfect for high quality, low volume production and will soon be the proud builder of world-class, fuel-efficient Fisker plug-in hybrids."
Fisker Automotive has signed a letter of intent with Motors Liquidation Company, formerly known as General Motors Corporation to purchase the Wilmington plant for $18 million after a routine four-month evaluation period. An additional $175 million will be spent to refurbish and retool the factory over the next three years. Funds will come from a conditional loan of $528.7M the Department of Energy awarded the company in September. The loan is part of the $25B Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program (ATVM) appropriated by Congress in 2007 to help the United States lead in the development and manufacturing of advanced technology vehicles.
The company's first car, the Fisker Karma, will be the world's first production plug-in hybrid when it goes on sale this summer at retailers in the U.S. and Europe. Fisker plug-in hybrid cars will help remove the country's dependence on foreign energy by eliminating the need for 42 million barrels of oil by 2016. They will also offset 8 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
"With our close-knit business, government, and educational communities and our potential to respond rapidly to new opportunities, today's announcement is a testament to what works best in Delaware. Fisker is a perfect partner in shaping Delaware's economic future, and we are thrilled that the vehicle that can reshape the automobile industry will be built here in Delaware, by Delaware workers," said Governor Jack Markell.
Gary Casteel, UAW director responsible for the plant, said, "It gives me great pride to give UAW Local 435 workers the opportunity to partner with Fisker Automotive to create a greener America by building a plug-in hybrid car that will compete globally."
Source: Fisker Automotive
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The Detroit News reported on Friday that General Motors plans to temporarily close its Wilmington, Delaware manufacturing facility for five weeks beginning today due to slow sales of the Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice roadsters. The plant also builds the Opel GT and Daewoo G2X, which are exported for sale overseas.