Struggling Fisker Automotive today laid off 160 staffers (80 percent of its employees) and handed its PR account to crisis firm Sitrick & Co. as the electric car company continues to negotiate a buyout deal with Chinese investors.

The company "regrets having to terminate any of hardworking and talented people. But this was a necessary strategic step in our efforts to maximize the value of Fisker's core assets," said a statement from the Anaheim-based company.

Fisker, which sells the $103K Karma, retained bankruptcy law firm Kirkland & Ellis last month. The introduction of the $55K Atlantic sedan has been delayed until 2014.

Founder Henrik Fisker departed the company in March due to "major disagreements with management on business strategy."

Fisker faces an April 22 deadline for payment on a $530M loan from the Dept. of Energy.
Michael Sitrick told O’Dwyer's he's working the account with Tony Knight and Anita Marie Laurie.