NEW YORK -- Fisker Automotive may not build its next line of hybrid cars at the former General Motors plant near Newport as planned, the company's CEO revealed Tuesday at the unveiling of the midsize sedan that was expected to rejuvenate Delaware's auto industry.
Problems with securing the next installment of a Department of Energy loan have forced the company to seek other possible manufacturing sites for the Atlantic, a sporty four-door that is meant to power mass-market sales for the California company.
Interest in funding and building the car has been on the rise in Europe, company CEO Tom LaSorda told auto industry reporters at the Atlantic's unveiling.
"[Delaware] is still our primary choice, but we're looking at other options," LaSorda said, adding that the Delaware site's status as a "greenfield" helps its case. If the Delaware plant is not chosen as the Atlantic's manufacturing base, it still would be possible that other models may eventually be built there.
The governor's office said it would protect Delaware's interests while still working to bring Fisker to the state.
"When Fisker and the Department of Energy reached an impasse over the distribution of the remaining loan, Fisker made clear they did not have the capital necessary to build out the Boxwood Road plant, said Brian Selander, spokesman for Gov, Jack Markell.
"If it becomes clear that Fisker's need for additional capital leads them to build elsewhere, we will vigorously enforce our rights to recovery under the state's loan agreement with the company."
There had been signs of possible trouble with Fisker building in Delaware.
When LaSorda was announced as CEO in February, he said production in Delaware relied on securing "alternative sources of financing."
But some in Delaware remain confident that Fisker can become a reality.
"No one is better prepared to do this than Delaware today. Rather than start all over again, let's move forward. ... They say this is still their primary location, so let's do it. Let's sit down and work it out and move forward," said Alan Levin, director of the Delaware Economic Development Office, said Tuesday night. Read more