DETROIT -- Fisker Automotive plans to export vehicles from an idled General Motors Co. factory, which the high-end electric car producer expects to buy.
Henrik Fisker, CEO of Fisker Automotive, said his company is in final negotiations to buy the plant in Wilmington, Delaware. Fisker said the company plans to build 100,000 to 150,000 vehicles annually there -- with the majority going overseas.
“We actually plan to export more cars than we sell here in the United States,” Fisker told the Automotive News World Congress on Wednesday.
In an interview, he said that the plant's proximity to shipping was a key factor in his company's decision to buy it. Fisker plans to build a $45,000 mid-sized sedan there beginning in 2012.
Fisker said the company can make the car profitable by simplifying some options usually found on premium cars. For instance, he said, Fisker can probably make do with a 12-position seat, rather than the 24- or 30-position seats in high-end rivals' cars.
Despite the profusion of electric vehicles at the Detroit auto show this year, Fisker defended plug-in, range-extended electric vehicles as the most practical form of vehicle electrification. He said the ability to recharge batteries both from the grid and from an on-board power source solves the range limitation of pure EVs.
He said his decision to make premium brand vehicles -- beginning with the $87,900 Karma roadster -- is also sound.
“I believe that the green car is going to become a status symbol,” Fisker said.
Fisker was an automotive designer for 20 years, first with BMW AG and then at Ford Motor Co., where he served as director of the global advanced design studio in Irvine, California, and design director at Aston Martin.
Among his creations are the BMW Z8 and the Aston Martin DB9 and V8 Vantage.
Starting next year, the Karma will be assembled in Finland by Valmet Automotive Inc.
Fisker Automotive, of Irvine, California, plans to use some of a $528.7 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy to prepare for production.