FISKER FOUNDER RESIGNS

Henrik Fisker, founder and executive chairman of hybrid car startup Fisker Automotive Inc., has left the Anaheim, Calif.-based company.In an e-mail, he tells Automotive News he left because of “major disagreements” with Fisker’s top executives about business strategy.Analysts speculate that Henrik Fisker was unhappy that another automaker might take over the company.

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Henrik Fisker, founder and executive chairman of hybrid car startup Fisker Automotive Inc., has left the Anaheim, Calif.-based company.

In an e-mail, he tells Automotive News he left because of “major disagreements” with Fisker’s top executives about business strategy.

Analysts speculate that Henrik Fisker was unhappy that another automaker might take over the company. Fisker Automotive has confirmed it is considering bids from unidentified suitors in Europe and China. News reports have identified Dongfeng Motor and Zhejiang Geely Automotive as bidders.

The hybrid carmaker has been seeking a buyer or automotive partner since the U.S. Dept. of Energy froze its $529 million loan in February 2012. The company needs a cash infusion to enable it to resume work on its Atlantic plug-in sedan, which was suspended when it lost the DOE loan.

Fisker Automotive’s first model, the $107,900 Karma plug-in hybrid sedan, was panned by Consumer Reports and recalled three times. The company halted Karma production last year, blaming the bankruptcy of its battery supplier A123 Systems Inc.

Fisker Automotive disclosed in January that it had hired turnaround firm Huron Consulting Group to run daily operations.

Henrik Fisker, a former senior design executive at Aston Martin, BMW and Ford, founded Fisker Automotive in 2007 and penned the Karma. He ceded the CEO job to former Chrysler Group CEO Tom LaSorda in February 2012. Tony Posawatz, former chief engineer for General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet Volt plug-in sedan, took over as chief executive in August.