DETROIT -- A boutique carmaker led by former General Motors executive Bob Lutz and China's largest auto parts supplier made an offer to buy cash-strapped "green" car company Fisker Automotive this month, people familiar with the matter said.

VL Automotive and China's Wanxiang Group are looking to gain control of Fisker through a prepackaged bankruptcy, the sources said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the discussions are private.

This is one of at least two ongoing efforts to revive Fisker, which fired the bulk of its workforce to preserve cash and hired bankruptcy advisers earlier this year.

Investors based in Europe and Hong Kong are working on a separate deal to buy $171 million in debt that Fisker still owes to the U.S. Department of Energy, the sources said.

Fisker, Wanxiang, VL Automotive and the DOE were not immediately available for comment. The sources cautioned that the talks were ongoing and may still fall apart.

The terms of the offer from Wanxiang and VL Automotive were not immediately clear, but both companies have an interest in Fisker's survival.

In January, Wanxiang won approval to buy Fisker's lithium-ion battery supplier, A123 Systems, out of bankruptcy. A U.S. judge approved the battery maker's bankruptcy plan this week.

At this year's Detroit auto show, VL Automotive showcased its new car, the Destino, which combines the shell of the Fisker Karma with the guts of a Chevrolet Corvette ZR1.

Fisker, which makes the $100,000-plus Karma plug-in hybrid sports car, has not built a vehicle since July.

The company won a $529 million federal loan in 2009 under the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program. But the DOE halted payments in May 2011 when it appeared that Fisker would miss some of its performance and sales milestones.