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Fisker Automotive cuts more staff. Is this the end?

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Allison Joyce/Reuters/File

(Read caption) The Fisker automotive electric Atlantic sedan is seen during its unveiling ahead of the 2012 International Auto Show in New York.

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Newspapers keep in their files pre-written obituaries for people who are old, known to be ill, or famous.

We have a feeling we should start dusting off the one we wrote awhile back for Fisker Automotive, which laid off the bulk of its remaining employees this morning at 8 am Pacific time.

Numerous members of the media received notes earlier today from at least one Fisker employee noting that the layoffs were coming.

As further details leaked out, GigaOm reports that 160 employees were laid off, with just 53 remaining.

A week ago yesterday, the Wall Street Journalreported that Fisker had "hired restructuring lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis LLP," to help it prepare for a possible bankruptcy filing. 

That came shortly after Fisker put its entire U.S. staff on a week-long "temporary" furlough to conserve cash.

The moves followed the collapse of negotiations between Fisker executives and two potential Chinese investors, the state-owned Dongfeng Motor Group and the Zhejiang Geely group (which owns Volvo).

Insiders later told reporters  that Fisker's plans had simply been too risky for either potential savior.

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In part, the challenge lies with the $192 million in low-interest loans Fisker received from the U.S. Department of Energy before the DoE froze disbursements in 2011 because Fisker had missed numerous deadlines for production of its Karma range-extended electric luxury sedan.

The DoE had originally awarded Fisker $529 million in loans in September 2009.

Fisker faces an April 22 deadline for its next payment to the U.S. Department of Energy, but the company has virtually no income from ongoing operations because it hasn't built a single Karma since last summer,

Tony Posawatz, its current CEO, was hired last August, replacing former Chrysler co-CEO Tom Lasorda, who had spent only seven months in the job.

We'll keep you posted on further Fisker developments.

Meanwhile, we're going to revisit that obituary. Just in case.

 


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