"There are already jobs on the ground in the United States both directly at the plant in Wilmington [Delaware] and at the headquarters on the West Coast," Carney said. "The model that is being built in Finland, relies on suppliers and others here in the United States before it is manufactured … This company is doing exactly what it said it would do."
Some of Obama's political opponents appeared unsatisfied with the explanation that the tax money would be used only on work on the Karma performed in the U.S.
"I'm sure the millions of unemployed workers in every state will want to learn why the Obama administration gave half a billion dollars to finance 'green' cars built in Finland," wrote Sarah Palin, in a Facebook post.
On the campaign trail Friday, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney also questioned the $529 million loan to Fisker, a company that is being financed in part by a Silicon Valley venture capital firm that has Al Gore as a board member.
"I believe in free enterprise, not in crony capitalism," Romney said. Fisker says the work in Finland is being supported by some of the $600 million in private financing the company has raised. The company's founder, Henrik Fisker, told ABC News that the car could not have been built without the U.S. government assistance. "I wouldn't sit here today with a finished car and with this much being done without that loan," Fisker said.
The company's statement also noted that it has created hundreds of jobs in the U.S. for the purpose of designing, engineering and marketing the car, and to supply parts. Though in the statement, the company appeared to suggest that fewer than half of the parts for the car were actually coming from American suppliers. "More than 45 percent of the components of the Fisker Karma sedan are manufactured by approximately 40 suppliers located in the U.S.," it said.
As it worked to answer questions about its decision to assemble the Karma in Finland, Fisker executives were also trying to explain the long awaited conclusions of the Environmental Protection Agency, which certified the car last week. In its fuel efficiency ratings, the EPA said the Karma would get only 20 miles per gallon when drivers engage its gasoline engine. (The EPA found the electric engine has a range of about 32 miles before losing its charge, though Fisker estimates that range at closer to 50 miles.)
The Karma's gasoline engine, incidentally, was purchased from General Motors and is American made.