Fisker Automotive plans to hire 120 persons in Delaware between now and February 2012.
The company announced it will begin advertising this weekend for workers for the former Boxwood assembly plant west of Wilmington, Del., in the Prices Corner area.
According to Delaware’s congressional delegation, Fisker expects 40 electro-mechanical technicians to be hired by August and an additional 80 production employees to be hired between October 2011 and February 2012. Hiring will continue as the car moves toward production. No final number was released. Fisker is preparing for the launch of its second line of production vehicles, code-named Project Nina, at the end of 2012 with sales commencing in 2013.
Fisker President Bernhard Koehler stated in a press release: “This is an exciting time for Fisker. As we bring the Fisker Karma sedan to market and start delivering to customers, we are simultaneously starting to employ a world-class American workforce to build world-class American electric vehicles with extended range in a re-commissioned American plant.”
The announcement of new jobs in Delaware comes on top of expansion at Fisker’s headquarters in Anaheim, Calif. Employment in California has quadrupled from 50 staff in January 2010 to 200 in January 2011. By the end of June it will have increased to. 300 direct hires. In addition, with a similar number of contractors, Fisker will have created more than 600 American jobs in the past 18 months.
“Fisker Automotive represents a new era for automotive manufacturing in Delaware,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper. “Today Fisker took another strong step forward by announcing the company will soon begin hiring, creating a significant number of jobs just when we need them most. We congratulate Fisker Automotive on the progress it is making at the former Boxwood Road Assembly plant. This partnership between federal and state government and Fisker Automotive is a good example of how collaboration can bolster our economy. I look forward to seeing Fisker Automotive thrive in Delaware as it creates a unique product that will thrill consumers and lead the way with the next generation of fuel efficient and low emission vehicles.”
Fisker has remained fairly quiet about its plans until now, but disclosed that since buying the plant in summer 2010 it has spent the last few months clearing out and re-commissioning the plant. Instead of disposing of the materials, Fisker has sent more than 11.2 million pounds of iron, steel, wood and aluminum on more than 400 truckloads for recycling.
The revenue generated from these recovery and re-cycling activities has been used to purchase more materials, tools and equipment as well as on additional factory improvements. Some materials are being re-used by Fisker itself. For example, wood from the original production line has even been used to floor the reception area of the Anaheim headquarters.
It was also announced that Fisker had hired Wilmington-based Mitchell Associates to handle architectural design work at the plant site. The company stated that it plans to use local companies wherever possible.
The Project Nina program will be a new generation of Fisker cars, following on from the Fisker Karma. The Karma and the Nina are “plug in” hybrids that can operate for shorter distances, including some shorter commutes on battery power.
The first Project Nina vehicle, according to Fisker, will be a mid-size premium sedan that delivers on Fisker’s promise of “Pure Driving Passion.” No sketches have been released of the vehicle, but it is expected to have some elements of the dramatic design of the Fisker Karma, which recently went into production at a plant in Finland.
The Karma has been drawing praise from automotive reviewers who had been critical of the delays in bringing the vehicle to market and wondered aloud about whether there were problems with the plug-in technology.
The company had disclosed that it had done extensive testing of the hybrid technology through other vehicles, rather than prototypes of its own cars.
In the meantime, the company has been successfully raising capital to back up the government financing package that would be needed in bringing the Delaware model line into production. Fisker Automotive was founded in 2007.