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Who You Calling an Outsourcer?

4:39 PM, Jul 17, 2012 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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It seems that not all outsourcing is equal ... or something like that.  Take, for instance, the building of an automobile known as the Fisker. This is the car that teen-throb Justin Bieber was driving when busted for speeding not so long ago.  The Fisker is a set of wheels that appeals to socially conscious one-percenters.  An electric sports car that tops out at well over 100 mph, the speed at which a cop said Bieber was traveling, even though the citation read a mere 80 mph.  The car retails for over $100k but buyers get a $7,500 tax rebate, which certainly must have incentivized Bieber to buy his Fisker.  Also Leonardo DiCaprio, another Fisker owner.

While the car is hot, the business, which got some green energy federal money, is not. According to Yuliya Chernova, writing in the Journal:

For a while, Irvine, Calif.-based Fisker was operating under the assumption that it has $529 million in federal loans, but last year the Department of Energy, which handles the loans, suspended issuing new checks because the car company missed some milestones. Fisker delayed the release of Karma and sold fewer Karmas than it promised under the DOE loan agreement. As a result of the loan suspension, Fisker stopped additional work on a plant in Delaware where it was planning to build the cars and laid off some employees.

Even as the half-billion in loan was being crafted, the company planned to manufacture the automobiles in Finland.  And, presumably, there were sound business reasons for this, as there are in most offshoring and outsourcing decisions.  Business people don't decide to manufacture in Finland just to stick it to American workers or because they like visiting Helsinki.  

If one gives the Obama administration credit for trying, here, then what exactly is its beef with whatever outsourcing Bain did, or did not, accomplish in its effort to be profitable?  

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