Electric car maker Fisker Automotive confirmed on Friday that it has let go of 75% of its employees, retaining just a small group of executives to help navigate the company out of its current financial situation.
Reports of an internal email announcing the dismissals circulated earlier today, as noted by Autoblog, before Fisker’s PR firm issued a public statement.
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The auto maker acknowledged that it had been mulling “strategic alternatives” to overcome its existing challenges and the time had come to make a “significant reduction” in its headcount. 25 percent of Fisker’s employees, a core group of roughly 50 people, will remain on board.
Fisker’s financial troubles had been known for some time, but the news comes as a sobering juxtaposition to rival electric car maker Tesla’s week. Tesla announced at the start of the month that it had achieved profitability in the first quarter (though it later emerged that it had done so by asking customers to pay early). On Tuesday, the company unveiled a master financing plan to help make its Model S vehicle more affordable.
Fisker’s Karma sedans cost over $100,000. According to the New York Times, it is facing a payment deadline on a $193 million US Department of Energy loan later this month. Fisker had received a conditional $528.7 million loan in 2009, but it didn’t receive the full amount after failing to live up to the requirements.
The company stopped production of the Karma last year and then faced a devastating setback after 320 of its vehicles, worth over $32 million, were destroyed during Hurricane Sandy. As money dried up, work on a second model, the Atlantic (pictured below), was postponed.
Co-founder Henrik Fisker left the company last month, reportedly after disagreements with management. Henrik Fisker founded his namesake company after parting ways with Tesla in 2008. Tesla then responded with a lawsuit alleging that some of its technology had been stolen.
Given Fisker’s situation, it’s likely going to need a savior to pull it out of its predicament – the company says it is “continuing in earnest” to look for an alliance or partnership. Things are definitely very grim at this point.
The company’s statement in its entirety:
Over the last several months, Fisker Automotive Inc. has been considering strategic alternatives that would allow the Company work through its current financial challenges.
Throughout this process our primary goal has been to maximize the core value of the Fisker technology and the business that we have created.
Our efforts to secure a strategic alliance or partnership are continuing in earnest, but unfortunately we have reached a point where a significant reduction in our workforce has become necessary.
Today, Fisker met with a group of employees in our Southern California office to inform them that this is their last day with the company. Yesterday, we met with a core group of employees in Southern California to express our desire that they remain with the company while we continue to address the challenges before us. We expect that at the end of the day we will have retained approximately 25 percent of our workforce.
The Company regrets having to terminate any of its hardworking and talented people. But this was a necessary strategic step in our efforts to maximize the value of Fisker’s core assets.
Image credit: Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP / Getty Images