US Loan Goes To Company Building Cars in Finland

Friday, 21 Oct 2011 12:57 PM

By Andra Varin

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The U.S. Department of Energy is defending its $529 million loan to a startup electric car company that will be building its first line of vehicles in Finland.

ABC News reported Thursday that Fisker Automotive had decided to outsource the job of assembling its new electric Karma sports car in the Nordic nation. Its reason for choosing Finland, the company's CEO said, was that the U.S. lacked facilities capable of doing the work.

"There was no contract manufacturer in the U.S. that could actually produce our vehicle," Henrik Fisker ABC News. "They don't exist here."

Vice President Joe Biden had touted the loan to the company as bringing new manufacturing jobs to Americans. Instead, about 500 jobs will go to a Finish company called Valmet Automotive.

Fisker insisted that the U.S. loan had been spent on engineering and design work that was done in the United States.

An Energy Department spokesman reiterated that in a written statement to Fox News.

"The Department's funding was only used for the U.S. operations," spokesman Dan Leistikow said. "The money could not be, and was not, spent on overseas operations. The Karma also relies on an extensive network of hundreds of suppliers in more than a dozen U.S. states."

News of the Fisker outsourcing comes as the Obama administration faces increasing criticism over the Energy Department's $535 million loan to solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, which has since gone bankrupt. The FBI and a congressional committee have launched investigations into the company's collapse amid questions about how the Energy Department allocates funds in its program to encourage green energy.

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