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Plug-in maker Fisker to buy idled GM plant

Fisker Automotive plans to buy a former GM plant in Wilmington, Del., to manufacture a plug-in hybrid sedan priced at about $40,000 after tax credits.

Fisker's first car, the Karma, is set to be released next year. Its Delaware plant is set to make its next luxury car, which will also be a plug-in hybrid. Fisker Automotive

Upstart carmaker Fisker Automotive on Tuesday said it will purchase a plant in Wilmington, Del., to make a plug-in hybrid sedan.

The facility, which used to be a General Motors factory, will begin manufacturing a plug-in hybrid in late 2012, which the company expects will cost almost $40,000 after federal tax credits. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Delaware Gov. Jack Markell are scheduled to speak at an announcement ceremony on Tuesday morning.

Production of Fisker's "family-oriented" car, called Project Nina, will result in 2,000 factory jobs. The company anticipates making 75,000 to 100,000 cars per year by 2014. "Wilmington is perfect for high-quality, low-volume production," CEO Henrik Fisker said in a statement.

The Wilmington assembly plant, closed in July this year, produced a handful of relatively low-volume cars from GM's shed brands, including the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky.

Fisker's first car, called the Karma, is a high-end luxury car priced at about $88,000. The Karma, which is will be manufactured in Europe, will be available in the middle of next year.

Fisker Automotive received $528.7 million from a Department of Energy loan in September, which will fund the purchase of the factory from GM. The company expects to buy the plant for $18 million and spend another $175 million to retool the factory over the next three years.

The technology used by Fisker, called an extended-range electric vehicle or series hybrid, is similar to that used by General Motors' Chevy Volt. The Karma will go 50 miles on batteries, and then a gasoline engine will run a generator for longer rides, for a total range 300 miles.