IRVINE, CA --- Automaker Fisker Automotive has appointed its first group of U.S. retailers to market and service its luxury plug-in hybrid vehicles, beginning with the $87,900 100-mpg Karma sedan later this year. 

Thirty-two retailers have confirmed their intent to carry the Fisker marquee. The number puts the carmaker close to its goal of having 40 locations across the country by the end of June 2009. 

Fisker board member Vic Doolan has been instrumental in guiding development of the company's retail network. Doolan led BMW NA and Volvo Cars NA to record sales in the 1990s and 2000s, and in so doing built solid relationships with top retail principals, Fisker Automotive said. 

"Our retail partners are our most important assets," Doolan said. "To our customers, they are the face of the company. For that reason, we've chosen those who will give Fisker owners the comfort and confidence to drive the future." 

By keeping startup costs low and not requiring floor-planning beyond demonstrator and display cars, Fisker is attracting new franchises even in tough economic times. President Obama's recent pledge of $2.4 billion to support development of plug-in hybrid vehicles and battery technology is added incentive, the company said. 

Fisker showrooms will reflect the company's concern for the environment and their vehicles' emission-free capabilities. 

"They will be eco-facilities, not ego-facilities," Doolan said. Architecture calls for natural and sustainable materials like wood and textiles. An available solar-powered car port can keep demonstrator vehicles clean, dry, fully charged and ready to go.