Fisker’s Karma to Be Made By Finland’s Valmet

Electric car maker Fisker Automotive says Finnish auto manufacturer Valmet Automotive will build the startup’s plug-in hybrid luxury sedan, the Karma. Fisker said this morning that it has issued a letter of intent saying Valmet, which is part of the Metso engineering group and assembles Porsche Caymans and Boxsters currently, will begin production by the end of year. Sales will start in the United States by the fourth quarter of 2009 and in Europe in 2010, Fisker says.

Fisker isn’t the only alternative vehicle maker to release production details recently. The news comes the same week that competitor Tesla Motors issued a production update saying it has “broken the logjam” and will be ramping up production to 100 cars a month by December. Meanwhile, Haaretz reports Shai Agassi is in Israel to meet with the director general of the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry to discuss bringing Project Better Place’s auto manufacturing to the country.

Irvine, Calif.-based Fisker says the company expects annual production of the Karma to reach 15,000 cars, half of which are slated for European sale. However, the startup’s founder, Henrik Fisker, said in a statement “We do have a strategic plan to utilize an American manufacturing site for future models of the Fisker Karma.”

Fisker wouldn’t divulge any details about the company’s other models. Earlier this year, Fisker’s drivetrain maker and partner Quantum told us Fisker was planning on rolling out a two-door, as well as convertible and SUV-crossover models after 2009. Quantum president and CEO Alan Niedzwiecki said Fisker could roll out its much more modest plug-in hybrid model, costing around $40,000, as early as 2011 with production rates up at 100,000 cars per year. But Fisker this morning told us it doesn’t currently have any production plans beyond the initial four-door Karma.