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Fisker Auto chooses Porsche vet to make Karma

The Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid luxury sedan will be manufactured by Valmet Automotive and will be sold in North America in late 2009.

Fisker Automotive on Monday said that Valmet Automotive of Finland, which makes the Porsche Boxster and Cayman, will manufacture the Fisker Karma.

The Fisker Karma will be a luxury plug-in hybrid sedan the company intends to start selling in the fourth quarter of 2009 to North American customers with an expected price of about $80,000.

The Fisker Karma luxury sedan, a plug-in hybrid with a 50-mile range on battery alone. Fisker Automotive

In addition to announcing its manufacturing partner, Fisker Automotive revealed a few more specifics on the Karma, which the company started test-driving earlier this year.

The Karma will have a range of 50 miles from a custom-built lithium-ion battery. The full range, using both its gasoline tank and battery, will be more than 350 miles. Fuel efficiency will be over 100 miles per gallon for extended drives.

Top speed will be 125 miles per hour, and acceleration will be 0 to 60 in less than six seconds.

The news of a manufacturing partner comes a few days after rival Tesla Motors started production of its all-electric, $100,000 Roadster.

The two companies are also in a legal battle; Tesla has accused Fisker Automotive CEO Henrik Fisker and a colleague of stealing company information when they did design work for Tesla.

Fisker Automotive projects that sales to European customers will be in 2010 and that annual production will be 15,000 cars.

In an interview with CNET News earlier this year, Henrik Fisker said that the company intends to follow the Karma with a sedan that will cost about $40,000.