Fisker founder Henrik Fisker calls it quits 

Image: Henrik Fisker
The Fisker Karma with company founder Henrik Fisker.Paul Eisenstein / The Detroit Bureau

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By Paul A. Eisenstein

With his eponymous battery-car company facing increasing turmoil as it struggles to survive a trouble launch and increasing financial problems, Henrik Fisker has resigned as executive chairman of California-based Fisker Automotive.

In a terse statement, the executive cited “several major disagreements” with members of the small carmaker’s senior management team over its ongoing business strategy. It is unclear if that references reported plans to find a partner and possibly sell a controlling stake in the firm to one of several Chinese automakers linking to the Fisker company.

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After tendering his resignation, Fisker sent out a note to a small group of media, including TheDetroitBureau.com, in which he stated that effective immediately he “has resigned from Fisker Automotive as Executive Chairman, and has left the company. The main reasons for (my) resignation are several major disagreements…with the Fisker Automotive executive management on the business strategy.”

The executive was not immediately available for follow-up questions.

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As previously reported here, Fisker Automotive has been struggling to generate the necessary capital to both keep its current operations running and to complete the development of the company’s second and perhaps most critical model, the mid-range plug-in hybrid Fisker Atlantic, first shown to the media prior to last year’s New York Auto Show.

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Fisker Automotive has been in a financial crunch ever since the Department of Energy decided to block distribution of most of a previously negotiated, $529 million federal loan. That left the maker hundreds of millions of dollars short of what it needed to finish development of the Atlantic.

Complicating matters has been the slow ramp-up of production and sales of its original product, the Fisker Karma. Due to various issues, production of that plug-in has been on hold for months. The Karma has also been the subject of several recalls.

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The company founder has spearheaded efforts to raise new capital but investors have also pressed for new management at the day-to-day level. Last year, Tony Posawatz, the former General Motors executive behind the Chevrolet Volt, signed on as Fisker CEO.

Posawatz has reportedly been leading negotiations with potential partners. Exactly where such talks might go has been a subject of wide speculation. Some have pointed to a possible strategic partnership with several Chinese automakers. There has also been talk about selling a controlling stake, perhaps even the entire company to Zheijangg Geely, the Chinese firm that owns Swedish automaker Volvo.

A former BMW, Ford and Aston Martin designer, Danish-born Henrik Fisker established his battery-car company in 2007 with long-time business partner Bernhard Koehler.

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