Markell’s Elephant in the Room: Fisker

Filed in National by on April 4, 2012

We were conned like everyone else. But for three years the Boxwood plant remains empty and will likely remain so. No 1,500 jobs. And with the recent news articles in the Times, WSJ and TNJ, we’ve learned that Fisker was playing the long con. Now that we all see we’ve been bamboozled, what will Markell’s reaction be? After months of publicly ignoring the elephant in the room, what will be the Administration’s response be today and in the future? What is Markell’s Plan B for Boxwood?

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Comments (23)

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  1. puck says:

    I had to check the masthead to see if I wasn’t on DelawarePolitics or maybe Charlie Copeland’s blog.

    I don’t know how healthy Fisker is or isn’t. But with this announcement, I think they are just trying to pressure the Feds to follow through with the rest of the financing.

    The answers to your questions are in the News Journal article.


    “If it becomes clear that Fisker’s need for additional capital leads them to build elsewhere, we will vigorously enforce our rights to recovery under the state’s loan agreement with the company.”


    “No one is better prepared to do this than Delaware today. Rather than start all over again, let’s move forward. … They say this is still their primary location, so let’s do it. Let’s sit down and work it out and move forward,”

  2. walt says:

    Fisker was a bunch of horse shit, and I knew it right out of the gate. The whole thing was based on tax credits and any other gift/graft they could line up. They played one state/municipality against the other, and you won’t live to see Fiskers wisking around on our roads.

  3. Jason330 says:

    Elephant deflated.

  4. fightingbluehen says:

    They go bankrupt we get nothing. Tax payers money ends up in the hands of these green fleecers once again. They get rich we get screwed,
    How many of these scenarios must we endure before people wake up to reality?

    BTW have we recouped the millions for the failed Indian River bridge yet?
    So much wasted.

  5. Que Pasa says:

    In all honesty, the Fisker Atlantic certainly LOOKS awesome!!!

    But is it a Potemkin-mobile?

    Hello, Jack? Hello? Hello? Jack, you there?

  6. We are at a cross roads in federal funding of ‘green’ businesses. I saw a blurb in the News Journal recently that indicated that Solyndra (sp?) financing wasn’t awry – they just got undercut by the Chinese. China is not exactly a level-field player in ‘green’ or elsewise in export trade.

    But Obama is probably not going to get off of his duff on these sorely-needed loans and grants through the rest of 2012. Biden was quoted this weekend blaming the GOP for blocking renewables funding.

    I agree with Puck that this is Fisker putting pressure on Obama. Delaware’s investment on the state level was only signed off with clear claw-backs – all of our money comes back to us if the jobs don’t manifest. OTOH, New Castle County will get screwed out of their tax dollars because they signed off on the contracts WITHOUT ANY CLAWBACK PROVISIONS. Let’s hope the feds come through for all our sakes.

    As an aside, I was at NCC Council’s Econ. Dev. Subcommittee meeting yesterday where a Dept. of State director made a presentation on International trade. He let slip that a delegation had gone to China to try to sell the Newark Chrysler plant and had a potential buyer but Chrysler refused to sell to another auto manufacturer. How about them apples? The Chinese company put their assembly plant in Kansas instead.

  7. puck says:

    Think about it from Fisker’s point of view for a minute. Fisker allegedly did not meet undisclosed sales targets for the Karma, which is a common event for a startup. Remember the Karma is basically a proof-of-concept car and was never meant to be their bread and butter.

    All they are asking for is a restructuring of their initial finance agreement with the Feds, which is an entirely common and reasonable thing to ask for.

    Now the Feds, caught up in Solyndra Presidential politics, are proving to be unreliable and unreasonable bankers, refusing to be flexible. So Fisker is playing the offshore card to bring them back to the table.

    Meanwhile Fisker is raising private money, which apparently is unfazed by the Karma numbers and thinks Fisker is a good bet. Opponents may say “See- Fisker didn’t need government money!”

    Which is partly true – but if Fisker is spending its own privately raised money, they are freed from their obligation to build in Delaware or anywhere in the US.

    So it is in our best interest for the US to restructure the loan, possibly requiring new stricter assurances or even partial ownership.

  8. fightingbluehen says:

    What makes anybody think that this start up car company can compete with the likes of Toyota or Ford or Nissan, when it comes to any car let alone an electric car.
    If you own a car from an established reputable car company you can take it to your local dealer if it breaks down. Where do you take a Fisker? I guess you would have to ship it to Finland as it stands right now.
    Fisker is the DeLorean of electric cars. Is there a Back To The Future IV in the making?

  9. jason330 says:

    Given the choice between short term political advantage, and long term economic well being, politicians will always take the short term political advantage.

    I think we can all agree on that much.

  10. John Young says:

    Jason nails it. It is not unique to Mr. Markell, but he does do it often enough that he gets to sit up at CNBC and MSNBC regularly in the AM

  11. Geezer says:

    One thing you learn as a horse player is not to dwell on the race you just lost money on. It was a gamble. Markell and the taxpayers lost, just as gamblers who bet on longshots usually do.

  12. Rockland says:

    It’s not their $$$ being invested into this garbage company it’s ours!!!!

    From Consumer Reports:

    Bad Karma: Our Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid breaks down

    Our Fisker Karma cost us $107,850. It is super sleek, high-tech—and now it’s broken.

    We have owned our car for just a few days; it has less than 200 miles on its odometer. While doing speedometer calibration runs on our test track (a procedure we do for every test car before putting it in service by driving the car at a constant 65 mph between two measured points), the dashboard flashed a message and sounded a “bing“ showing a major fault. Our technician got the car off the track and put it into Park to go through the owner’s manual to interpret the warning. At that point, the transmission went into Neutral and wouldn’t engage any gear through its electronic shifter except Park and Neutral.

    We let the car sit for about an hour and restarted it. We could now engage Drive and the same error message disappeared. After moving it only a few feet the error message reappeared and when we tried to engage Reverse the transmission went straight to Park and again no motion gear could be engaged. After calling the dealer, which is about 100 miles away, they promptly sent a flatbed tow truck to haul away the disabled Fisker.

    We buy about 80 cars a year and this is the first time in memory that we have had a car that is undriveable before it has finished our check-in process.

  13. Jason330 says:

    So don’t invest your money. Invest it gold bullion. I really need to explain this to you?

  14. Geezer says:

    “It’s not their $$$ being invested into this garbage company it’s ours!!!!”

    I realize the concept of representative government is foreign to conservatives, but that’s how it works. We elect him, and he makes decisions. You could always move to China, where they do it differently and their economy grows far faster than ours as a result.

  15. puck says:

    This is old news, Rockhead. Lots of cars fail and are recalled every year, even established brands. They explode, catch on fire, roll over, or accelerate unexpectedly. They get fixed and the brand goes back into the showroom. It doesn’t mean the car is a lemon.

    Let’s take a closer look at Fisker’s health and if it checks out, continue with the financing.

  16. Jason330 says:

    Oh. I gather from Geezer’s comment that Rockland thinks “his money” stays his after he sends it off to the government. Just has “his money” is still his when he spends it at Walmart and then Martha Walton uses it to buy a house in the Cayman Islands.

  17. Dana Garrett says:

    The Europeans know how to play the long game. They’ll capitalize Fisker because they know that one must plan for future rewards. We are too impulsively greedy and obsessively need instant gratification to have the patience and strategic prowess for green technologies. It’s a pity because the future always arrives someday, but we won’t be prepared for it and it will cost us a lot more to catch up.

  18. occam says:

    I agree, we were bamboozled, hopefully our state won’t make the same mistake again.

  19. Rockland says:

    I view this type of Investment in “Green Racketeering” should be left to private investment in most cases.

  20. Geezer says:

    Which would guarantee it would get done only if and when the rich and/or corporations wanted it done. Silly rabbit.

  21. Rockland says:

    Remember Geezer in the case of Fisker almost all the cars sold so far have been bought by the so called “Rich”.

    What happens when the “evil Rich” stop buying their product.

  22. Geezer says:

    I never said they were evil. You did.

    The two facts have nothing to do with each other. In a system in which only the rich have purchasing power, a businessperson would be a fool to come up with products for any other market, wouldn’t he?

    Sorry, pal, but it’s been a couple of weeks now, and you clearly don’t have the intellectual chops to hang here.

  23. Doug Beatty says:

    All due respect Puck, I’m not convinced that the News Journal meets the definition of free adversarial press.

    I’m meeting with a group today that formed online when they couldn’t get any response to complaints against KCSPCA animal control officers and leadership. Including some pretty heavy allegations. Missing cases of drugs, etc.

    The News Journal has thus far only written fluff pieces on the KCSPCA. They’ve been given leads, maybe they will someday act on them.

    Governor Markell’s office is siding with the KCSPCA so far, insisting that they are a private non profit and not subject to oversight by anyone but Department of Agriculture. In direct conflict with an opinion from Beau Biden’s office.

    Have you read about that in the News Journal? I sent them the opinion from DOJ and the email from Markell’s director of constituent services.

    That’s one documented story they have missed. I could go on…

    Also, I’m as likely to pay to read delawareonline as I am to give money to the wall street journal. One of the few things I miss about living in D.C., the abundance of free adversarial press. From all vantage points. From the National to the Washington Times, even the FOI newspaper.

    This situation does sound like an elephant in the room.