U.S. (but sometimes you read someone call it “Danish”) electric vehicle maker Fisker has filed for bankruptcy protection following the collapse of deal talks with a major automaker.

The bankruptcy filing exposes the startup to the severe financial strain it experienced while attempting to deliver its Ocean SUV in the U.S. and Europe.

What happened to Fisker

Fisker Group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware on June 17. The filing lists the company’s estimated assets between $500 million and $1 billion and liabilities ranging from $100 million to $500 million. The court documents also indicate that Fisker has between 200 and 999 creditors.

The company’s troubles intensified after the termination of negotiations with a large automaker in March, forcing Fisker to explore strategic alternatives, including possible in- or out-of-court restructurings and capital markets transactions.

Although Fisker has not publicly identified the automaker, Reuters reported that Nissan was in advanced talks to invest in the startup.

Image: Fisker

Fisker, founded by the danish-american automotive designer Henrik Fisker, had flagged concerns about its ability to continue operating back in February. The company paused investments in future projects pending the outcome of an auto partnership deal.

Amid these uncertainties, Fisker also announced plans to cut its workforce by about 15 percent due to difficulties in selling its Ocean models. In 2023, Fisker manufactured over 10,000 vehicles at the contract manufacturer Magna Steyr in Austria but delivered only about 4,700—far below its initial forecast.

Production of the Fisker Ocean SUV was halted in March at Magna Steyr’s facility, compounding the company’s financial woes. Last month, the U.S. auto safety regulator opened a preliminary probe into some Ocean EVs produced in 2023. This investigation, conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), followed three prior incidents involving the vehicles.

The combination of tight access to capital in a high-interest-rate economy, high marketing and distribution costs, and slower-than-expected demand for EVs has significantly drained Fisker’s cash reserves. Similar financial strains have led to the bankruptcies of other EV companies, including Proterra, Lordstown, and Electric Last Mile Solutions.


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