People seem to be either China haters or China lovers — or maybe it’s just those parties that are the loudest. I’ve actually got a good deal of criticism for the red giant, most especially because of its massive pollution and its plans to build a ton of coal power plants and roads. However, its investment in clean energy and other types of cleantech is also monumental, unprecedented, incomparable anywhere in the world. And I’m in great awe about that.
While I read and write much more about China’s wind and solar industries, it also has a bit going on in the electric vehicle arena. And, most recently, the news is that a Chinese company is going to purchase plug-in hybrid electric vehicle company Fisker Automotive. Fisker is a leader in the luxury EV market, but it’s cars have been struggling to find buyers for quite awhile now (and are unable to compete with their main competitors — vehicles from the pure electric vehicle company Tesla; and the leading PHEV on the market, the Chevy Volt).
The latest news is that China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group is the most likely to buy a majority stake of Fisker. Reuters reports that Geely (which now own’s Sweden’s well known car company Volve) or Dongfeng Motor Group Co, which is state owned.
“The knowledgeable individuals said both offers, which Fisker received in the last three weeks, were worth between $200 million to $300 million,” Reuters writes.
The sources, who are close to Fisker, said Geely appeared to be the preferred suitor.
Fisker’s corporate leaders and their advisers believe Geely is “more serious” and “passionate” about Fisker and its technology, one of the individuals said.
The Hangzhou-based company also “can move fast” in making decisions — unlike Dongfeng, whose responsiveness could be hampered by its multi-layered decision-making structure typical in a Chinese state-owned enterprise, the source said.
That quality is likely to work against Dongfeng, since Fisker is under a tight deadline to find a suitor, he added.
“Most of all, with Geely we’re dealing with one decision maker,” the individual said, referring to its charismatic founder and chairman, Li Shufu.
Geely’s Li is also deemed a better suitor due to his experience in making cross-border acquisitions. In 2010, Geely acquired all of Volvo from its previous owner Ford Motor Co.
“Overall, we think Geely is a better fit,” the knowledgeable individual said.
The sources noted that Geely had already sent a team of engineers to Anaheim to evaluate Fisker and its technology for battery-powered electric cars with a small gasoline engine used to extend the car’s driving range.
With China’s Wanxiang Group recently purchasing a leading U.S. lithium-ion battery maker, A123 Systems, after it went bankrupt, it’s good to see that notable and useful electric vehicle companies that crash in the U.S. can at least start a new life in China.