Fisker Automotive logoA former General Motors auto assembly plant will get new life after a court on Tuesday approved its sale to a fledgling maker of electric vehicles.

A federal bankruptcy judge approved the $20 million sale of the former GM plant in Wilmington, Del., to Fisker Automotive, a California-based plug-in electric vehicle start-up, which announced plans to buy the 3.2 million-square-foot plant last October.

Fisker hopes to build 100,000 vehicles a year when it gets the plant fully up and running. Production is expected to begin in 2012 and eventually employ as many as 2,000 workers.

The plant's sale is a rare success for the "old GM," now officially known as Motors Liquidation Co., in trying to dispose of its assets, The Detroit News reported. Court records show old GM tried for a year to sell the Delaware property, noting that it was "a particularly challenging task."

Following Tesla

The Wilmington factory is the second such U.S. auto assembly plant to gain a new life building electrically driven vehicles. In May, Tesla Motors (TSLA) agreed to buy the former New United Motor Manufacturing, or Nummi, plant in Fremont, Calif., for $42 million.

Tesla aims use the Nummi plant in a joint venture with Toyota Motor
(TM) to start volume production by 2012 of its planned Model S sedan, which will sell for nearly $50,000. Nummi was previously operated as a joint venture between GM and Toyota prior to GM's bankruptcy last year.

Fisker and Tesla have been granted
$528 million and $465 million, respectively, in low-interest loans from the federal government to help fund their ventures.

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