Fisker plans more layoffs as cash dwindles and bankruptcy looms

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Fisker says it's planning more layoffs less than two months after cutting 15% of its workforce, as the EV startup scrambles to raise cash to stay alive. Fisker expects to seek bankruptcy protection within the next 30 days if it can't come up with that money, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission regulatory filing.

The imperiled company said in the regulatory filing Tuesday it had just $54 million in cash and equivalents as of April 16, and another $11.2 million that can't be immediately accessed. Fisker said in the filing that it's currently trying to raise money to pay off a loan that it defaulted on in order to avoid bankruptcy. The outstanding balance as of mid-January was north of $300 million.

Fisker still employed 1,135 people globally as of April 19, according to the filing. That's down from 1,560 at the end of 2022, and around 1,300 at the end of September 2023. The company also said Tuesday that it will be "reducing its physical footprint."

This follows Fisker's announcement Monday evening that a second member of its board of directors has left the company, with the first coming at the end of March. The company has also hired a chief restructuring officer who is now solely in charge of approving Fisker's budget, as well as the decision-making process for any sale of Fisker's business.

Fisker finds itself on the brink of bankruptcy following a troubled launch of its first electric vehicle, the Fisker Ocean SUV, that kicked off in June 2023.

The Ocean has been hampered by numerous problems, including buggy software, reports of sudden power loss and brake failure, and insufficient customer service, as TechCrunch reported in February. Fisker struggled to meet internal sales goals and lost track of millions of dollars of customer payments for some of the vehicles it did sell, triggering an internal audit that helped recover a majority of that money. It has spent the last few months attempting to pivot to a dealership model.

The Ocean is now subject to three separate federal investigations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The company has not issued any recalls, but has paused production of the SUV. In the meantime, it slashed prices on its existing inventory by as much as 39% in an attempt to generate short-term cash. The company has also been delisted from the New York Stock Exchange.

If Fisker ultimately seeks bankruptcy protection, it would be founder Henrik Fisker's second automotive startup to do so. His previous effort, Fisker Automotive, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2013.