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Is This Man Going to Be China’s Elon Musk?

The Chinese billionaire who bought Fisker Automotive Holdings Inc. at a bankruptcy auction is planning to build a new slate of electric-drive cars in the U.S., challenging Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) on its home turf.

Lu Guanqiu, the chairman and founder of China’s Wanxiang Group Corp., plans to manufacture electric cars in the U.S. and ultimately in China, he said in his first extensive interview since prevailing in a February bidding war for Fisker’s assets.

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“I’ll put every cent that Wanxiang earns into making electric vehicles,” he said at Wanxiang’s headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. “I’ll burn as much cash as it takes to succeed, or until Wanxiang goes bust.”

Lu’s plan pits him against the likes of Elon Musk, the chief executive officer of Tesla, which has quickly added workers to churn out its $72,000 Model S. Each mogul aspires to move his company beyond the U.S. to sell lower-emission cars in China — the world’s largest auto market, with some of the worst air pollution.

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“Fisker brings a unique edge and owning the company no doubt benefits Wanxiang in terms of gaining access to technologies that would otherwise take them years to develop,” said Harry Chen, an automotive analyst with Guotai Junan Securities Co. in Shenzhen. “To succeed it ultimately has to start production in China and manufacturing in U.S. is just a stepping stone.”
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