Henrik Fisker resigns from carmaker

Henrik Fisker
Image caption Henrik Fisker has fallen out with Fisker Automotive's executive management

Henrik Fisker, the founder of the Californian carmaker Fisker Automotive, has left the company.

Mr Fisker told BBC News he blamed "several major disagreements with the executive management on the business strategy".

The news follows a tricky year for the company, which currently only sells one model, the Karma petrol-electric plug-in hybrid.

In 2012, several fires and battery problems sparked recalls.

The company has also been embroiled in legal battles:

  • with battery manufacturer A123, over how much the carmaker is owed because of warranty breaches and subsequent production delays;
  • and with XL Insurance, over compensation after 338 Fisker Karma models were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy last autumn.

During last year's election campaign, Fisker was described as a "failure" by Republican candidate Mitt Romney, who was critical of the Energy Department's decision to extend a $529m (£355m) loan to Fisker in 2011.

Most of the loan was frozen last year after Fisker failed to meet production deadlines set out in the initial loans agreement.

Image caption Fisker has sold about 2,000 Karma models

So far, Fisker has sold a little more than 2,000 cars, but production was halted last year amid widespread concerns about the company's financial health.

Two years ago, Mr Fisker told BBC News he was initially gunning for annual sales of 15,000, though over time, this should rise to hundreds of thousands of cars.

Rumours abound that Fisker could soon be sold, possibly to the Chinese carmaker Dongfeng Motor or to Zhejiang Geely, which owns Sweden's Volvo Cars.

A sale could secure the funds Fisker would need to build its planned Atlantic model, which at about $55,000 should cost about half the price of a Karma.

Mr Fisker made his name in the motor industry as a designer, working for Aston Martin, BMW and Ford.

"Mr Fisker's departure is not expected to impact the company's pursuit of strategic partnerships and financing to support Fisker Automotive's continued progress as a pioneer of low-emission hybrid electric powertrain technology," the company said in a statement.

"The company recognises and thanks Mr Fisker for his service and many contributions as Fisker Automotive has progressed from start-up to a fully-fledged global automotive company."

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