The Breakdown

Explaining Southern California's economy

Meet Tony Posawatz, the new CEO of Fisker Automotive

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Below is video of Tony Posawatz that I shot during the 2009 L.A. Auto Show, when I was covering the car business for Slate. At the time, Tony was in charge of GM's Chevy Volt rollout. He recently retired from GM, but now he's been named the new CEO of Fisker Automotive, the Southern California-based manufacturer of hybrid-electric luxury cars.

Tony knows his way around the specific type of hybrid tech that both the Volt and the Karma use. What's different of course is that the Volt sells for $40,000, while the Karma goes for $100,000. I had the chance to drive both on the same day at the Dwell on Design Green Car Ride & Drive. They're excellent cars. But they are very, very different.

What they have in common is that they've shown a tendency to catch fire (a Karma went flame-on this weekend). This doesn't surprise me too much, as the technologies in both are relatively new and untested over the long haul.

Fisker has also endured some trials as it's sought to establish itself in the alternative transportation world. The general perception is that it's still chasing Tesla Motors, the Silicon Valley electric car startup whose CEO is Elon Musk; his other company is SpaceX.

Tesla just starting delivering its Model S luxury sedan to customers.

Posawatz is taking the place of Tom LaSorda, formerly of Chrysler, as Fisker's CEO. So the startup is on its second chief exec with a Detroit background. But once again, the difference is that Posawatz was as directly involved with bringing an extended-range hybrid EV to market as it's possible to be.

Follow Matthew DeBord and the DeBord Report on Twitter. And ask Matt questions at Quora.

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