Koehler in Delaware

Fisker Automotive’s COO Bernard Koehler spoke at a manufacturing conference hosted by the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce.  He spoke with great confidence of the pending sales and subsequent renovation of the Boxwood plant.

Fisker plans to produce two lines of luxury plug-in hybrid cars at the factory, where it expects to eventually employ 2,000 workers.

Koehler was the keynote speaker at the chamber’s manufacturing conference, held in the morning at the Sheraton Hotel on U.S. 13, and shared the stage at a legislative brunch with Delaware Gov. Jack Markell in the afternoon. In both addresses, Koehler committed to working with local suppliers at the plant, and said the company will hold an event as early as May for suppliers to meet Fisker executives and push their wares.

He also spoke Wednesday about choosing Delaware — among many states that were courting the company — as its manufacturing hub.

“It’s a great location,” Koehler said. “The equipment is still in place. We have the work force here. Why not Delaware?”

[Source: delawareonline]

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Silver Fisker Logo

Much speculation has gone into theories on why Fisker Automotive picked the Wilmington Delaware plant. Was it because former Vice President Al Gore had cut an “under the table” deal with Vice President Biden? Did the UAW, as an owner of GM force them to buy the plant in order to maintain the rights to purchase the Ecotech 2.0 liter engine? Were there just not any other options out there?

Of course in truth it was none of these. The site team at Fisker had a very precise list of factors needed for a new plant. The Wilmington plant met each of the main criteria plus a bonus one or two. The top five requirements for a new plant were:

1) The facility needs to be in good condition.

Having just been recently close and the added fact that it had been retooled to produce the Pontiac Solstice in 2005 the Wilmington plant is in excellent working order.

2) The facility should have produced cars not trucks.

“The way a truck is put together is much different, ” Datz says.

Not only did the plant produce cars, it made sports cars using the same Ecotech 2.0 liter turbo engine that is currently in the Fisker Karma. The facility also used a lower powered 2.4 liter engine that could be considered for Project Nina.

3) Previous Production Quality Ratings are important.

This plant had some of the highest ratings for all GM plants.

4) There must be good port access from the plant.

Wilmington is right on the coast and the plant has great access to the port. This will make it easy for Fisker Automotive to export half of the cars produced throughout the world.

5) The plant must be an appropriate size for production start up and future expansion.

The plant was recently tooled to produce over 20,000 cars per year. Formerly, it had made over 300,000 cars per year. This will allow for a good starting point and great expansion opportunity. However, it’s not so big that the space would set idle for many years to come.

There were also a couple of bonus criteria that this plant made available that no other plant had to offer. First there is the state of the art paint facility.

GM’s recent upgrade of the plant’s paint shop was an important factor. “We’re looking to build cars that will compete with BMW and Mercedes-Benz,” Datz says, “and we need a good paint job.”

The second bonus was only possible due to the speed in which the deal was made between the state of Delaware, GM, and Fisker Automotive. Since the deal was expedited GM agreed to leave all the equipment currently in the facility. Most of the time this equipment would be sold off prior to the property going on the market. In this case the equipment had been properly shut down and was maintained during storage.

Once again the conspiracy theories are proven wrong. Are there any others ones that you have heard about the plant purchase? Is there still something else out there?

[Source: TheCarConnection]

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Tesla's reveal of their Model S

Tesla's reveal of their Model S

Dealers who attended the press conference that announced the purchase of the Boxwood Assembly Plant got a special treat just before Halloween. After everyone else had left, Fisker Automotive held a special dealer meeting. At this meeting a full size metal model was shown of the Nina. Prior to the showing dealer were instructed not to take any pictures, nor were they allowed to describe the car in any way once they had left.

Fisker gave its dealers a sneak peek of its next car, the Nina, which will aim for the family-sedan market with a price tag of about $40,000 after a $7,500 federal tax credit.

Any additional details about the car are unknown at this time. It is a very positive sign, the car’s design it to a point where Fisker is comfortable show it. From what we have heard the dealers were all very excited about what they saw. The new design is going to fit right in line with the Karma and Karma Sunset. Viewing the  new design has encouraged several dealers to consider accelerating their showroom plans and increasing the promotion for Karma pre-orders.

What do you think the Nina will look like?

How close do you think it will be to the Tesla Model S?

Will there be another lawsuit?

[Source:DelawareOnline Picture: Tesla Motors]

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We are LIVE.

We are LIVE.

Live transcript from the Boxwood Automotive Plant, Delaware. Vice President Joe Biden and Fisker Automotive CEO Henrik Fisker speak.

10:37  Introductions, including Vice President Biden and Henrik Fisker.

10:40 First Speaker, Car Czar Ed Montgomery. He gets his largest applause when he says “This plant will allow us to export electric cars to other countries.”

10:43 Next Speaker, Rep. Mike Castle- He thanks Mr. Fisker for his company’s diligence in selecting the Boxwood plant.

10:48 Sen. Ted Kaufman- Miss quotes Jerry Maguire by asking “Where’s the Money?”, He’s proud to see that Delaware is leading the way for more green jobs in the US.

10:50 Sen. Tom Carper- “Hands that built Pontiac Solstice can build Ninas.”

10:59 Gov. Jack Markell- He says, “I can think of no better partner to reopen this plant than Fisker Automotive. ” There is still a lot more work to be done in order to bring the potential of Fisker Automotive into successful reality. He presents a gift to Henrik Fisker and Barney Koehler, a jacket with the UAW logo and Fisker logo on it.

Boxwood Auto Plant Announcement

11:11 Henrik Fisker, CEO Fisker Automotive- He starts by giving an overview of Fisker Automotive. ‘We have always planned to use the development of the Fisker Karma to bring down the price of the drivetrain for Project Nina.” Originally this was going to start in another 3 years, thanks to the loan this project starts today. ‘We plan to export at least 50% of the cars manufactured in this plant.”  Fisker choose this plant for several reasons. First, the skilled workers in the area. Second, the amazing reception they received from the governor and the other state officials. They really showed that they wanted Fisker to work with them. Delaware showed that they could do business in a fast and efficient way. Third, the plant has great facilities from the assembly line to the paint shop and more.

11:20 Dave Meyers, UAW- Thanks several people and then introduces “Our Joe.”

11:22 Vice President Joe Biden- He talks about the plant closing and how hard that was on the community and the individual workers and their families. The doubters were wrong about our ability to manufacture cars for the world. “I believe we can lead the world in automobile manufacturing for the next century.” “It’s a bad bet to bet against America!” The cars that we build here are truly going to be the cars of the future. Biden then goes on to mention his favorite quote from Henrik Fisker, “It’s not enough to build an electric car, it’s got to have muscle and it’s got to have looks.” From investments in battery technology to charging stations we are placing a bet on the future.  “Today’s announcement is the first sign that this bet is starting to pay off.”

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