As Fisker buys GM plant, Big Auto sees its plug-in hybrid future

When a General Motors plant in Wilmington, Del. shut down this July, it left 550 people out of work. But the city isn't mourning the loss of Big Auto so much anymore because Very Little Electric Auto is taking its place. Fisker, maker of small plug-in hybrid cars, announced Tuesday it was buying the recently-shuttered GM plant in Wilmington, and in 2012 would have 2,000 people working there. By 2014, the plant could be making 100,000 cars a year and employ 2,500 workers.

Far from its roots building Pontiac, Saturn and Opel sports cars for GM, the factory will produce a car code-named "Project NINA," a family-oriented plug-in electric vehicle. The car will be targeted to a very different consumer for Fisker, which has yet to bring a product to market. Its first concept, a gorgeous-but-spendy plug-in sports car called the Karma, received raves for its beauty and shock for its impracticality when the company secured a $528 million Department of Energy loan in September. The company is taking pre-orders for the car, which should be delivered in 2010.