The neverending saga of the Fisker Karma took a turn for the political after Fisker's chairman told a Delaware newspaper that the company would have been able to get more of the $529 million loan promised by the federal government if Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney hadn't criticized such loans. That response came a day after Romney's spokesman called the loans to Fisker a "failed investment."
I've written at length about Fisker's struggles, including the buggy launch of the Karma plug-in hybrid and new CEO's Tom LaSorda's all-out push to cut costs and build its proposed next model, the Atlantic -- including laying off most of the remaining workers at its proposed new plant in Delaware this week. Given that Fisker missed the sales targets set out by the U.S. Department of Energy for its loan, the money would be in doubt no matter the political climate.
But Ray Lane, the former Oracle executive who chairs Fisker's board, took exception after a Romney spokesman said the Fisker loan was an example like the bankrupt solar panel maker Solyndra of a failed investment by President Barack Obama. In an email to The News Journal in Wilmington, Del., Lane said Romney's political attacks had kept the Energy Department from striking a new deal with Fisker: "Irony is Romney doesn't understand he's the problem and he's lumping a company that did $100m in q1 with a company that's bankrupt."
Lane vowed to "call Mitt" and set things straight. I don't think that's going to happen until a certain Wednesday morning in November.
Other stories from around the automotive world:
Lamborghini teases new SUV with sci-fi video: The big reveal of Lamborghini's new SUV model arrives in a matter of days, and to get folks pumped, Lambo put part of the introduction video on the web that shows how monsters from the front of a bored high-schoolers notebook might look with enough CGI. (Lamborghini)
Tiger moms craving SUVs drive next wave of China demand: Proving the differences between the United States and China are far smaller than many people think. (Bloomberg)
Ferdinand Piech drives XL1 to VW board meeting; wife elected to board: Repeating a stunt he performed a few years ago, Volkswagen chairman Ferdinand Piech drove the hyper-efficient XL1 two-seater to the VW board meeting this week -- where the board not only gave him another five-year term but elected his wife Ursula as a member. (Motor Trend)
Honda seeks to reverse hybrid owner's small claims award: Funny how the whole "fight 'em in small claims court" idea leads to fighting 'em in larger courts. (USA Today)