NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Car Company Gets U.S. Loan, Builds Cars in Finland

October 26, 2011

Vice President Joseph Biden heralded the Energy Department's $529 million loan to the start-up electric car company called Fisker as a bright new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs.  But two years after the loan was announced, the company has served up several disappointments, says ABC News. 

  • First and foremost, the company's manufacturing jobs are limited to a manufacturing plant in Finland.
  • Second, the company has yet to release any specifics regarding its low-cost alternative model, the Fisker Nina, though designs are overdue.

These results bring heightened scrutiny, especially as the American public watches the fallout from the Solyndra loans.

  • The Department of Energy has provided $1 billion in loans to two California-based electric car manufacturers: Fisker and Tesla.
  • Running more than a year behind in the production of the Karma sports car, Fisker has produced only 40 units, with only two having been delivered to the customer.
  • Of the $25 billion made available in Department of Energy (DOE) loans made available through the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program, Fisker and Tesla are part of only 5 percent of applicants for funding to have gained approval as of yet.

In order to maintain investor confidence despite their subpar performance thus far, both Tesla and Fisker have been quick to emphasize their partnerships and backing from various private-sector firms.

However, many still look on with extreme suspicion, highlighting the lack of clear guidelines whereby the DOE selected one investment opportunity over another.  These critics also stress the connections that each of these companies have to powerful lawmakers, including powerful donors to President Obama's 2008 campaign.  Keen to remind the public of the substantial room allowed for nepotism in this sort of public policy, opponents decry the apparent lack of oversight and the poor performance of these companies that seems all too reminiscent of Solyndra's trajectory.

Source: Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross and Ronnie Greene, "Car Company Gets U.S. Loan, Builds Cars in Finland," ABC News, October 20, 2011.

For text:


Browse more articles on Tax and Spending Issues