WILMINGTON, DE – Plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle maker Fisker Automotive announced plans to hire about 120 employees to work at its re-commissioned plant in Wilmington, Del.

Fisker, manufacturer of the Karma plug-in hybrid sedan, is preparing to launch its second line of production vehicles – code-named Project Nina -- at the end of next year.

Initially, the group of new employees will consist of engineering staff, electro-mechanical technicians and early teams of production workers.

Forty electro-mechanical technicians will be hired during July and August, and an additional 80 production employees will join the company between October and February 2012. There will be a continuous addition of jobs as the Project Nina platform nears full production, the company said.

“As we bring the Fisker Karma sedan to market and start delivering to customers, we are simultaneously starting to employ a world-class American workforce to build world-class American electric vehicles with extended range (EVer) in a re-commissioned American plant,” said Bernhard Koehler, Fisker’s automotive chief operating officer.

The announcement of new jobs in Delaware also comes at a time of significant employment expansion at Fisker’s global headquarters based in Anaheim, Calif. The company’s headcount in California has quadrupled from 50 staff members in January 2010 to 200 in January 2011. By the end of June, the staff will have increased an additional 50 percent to 300 direct hires. In addition, with a similar number of contractors (300), Fisker has created more than 600 American jobs in the past 18 months.

“2011 is a pivotal year for us in Delaware,” Koehler noted. “As we start to hire new employees, we will begin the process of installing new equipment and testing the manufacturing process.”

Since buying the Delaware plant in the summer of 2010, the company has spent the past few months clearing out and re-commissioning the plant. However, instead of scrapping materials, Fisker has sent more than 11.2 million pounds of iron, steel, wood and aluminum on more than 400 truckloads to be re-cycled.

The revenue generated from these recovery and re-cycling activities has been used to purchase more materials, tools and equipment and to finance additional factory improvements.

The first Project Nina vehicle, scheduled to roll off the Wilmington production line at the end of 2012, will be a mid-size sedan.