Times have been tough for Fisker Automotive. Last month, the company was forced to lay off workers at its Delaware plant while seeking to renegotiate its $529 million Department of Energy loan. That incident came in the wake of the Karma’s widespread technical issues, which have included two recalls, one related to software malfunctioning and the other to battery issues. Now, adding to the company’s present woes, it looks like Consumer Report’s very own Fisker Karma has bit the dust only days after the publications purchase of the $100,000 dollar luxury plug-in hybrid.
According to Consumer Reports, the Karma was undergoing initial calibration testing when it broke down resulting in CR unable to put the car through its paces. After the driver of the car stopped to investigate dashboard warnings, the vehicle was unable to move into gear again. Attempts to get the car working yielded no results, so a nearby dealer was sent to the rescue with a flatbed truck to haul away the conked out Karma.
We have owned our car for just a few days; it has less than 200 miles on its odometer. While doing speedometer calibration runs on our test track (a procedure we do for every test car before putting it in service by driving the car at a constant 65 mph between two measured points), the dashboard flashed a message and sounded a “bing” showing a major fault. Our technician got the car off the track and put it into Park to go through the owner’s manual to interpret the warning. At that point, the transmission went into Neutral and wouldn’t engage any gear through its electronic shifter except Park and Neutral.
Of course, this could just be an isolated incident made worse by being brought to the public’s attention, but it’s exactly this type of image blow Fisker, and its Karma, want to avoid right now. Interestingly, for all the negative press thrown GM’s way for the Chevy Volt, we can only imagine the backlash headed for Fisker. While we certainly wish to see the Karma succeed, anger over its various malfunctions are indeed warranted — because, let’s face it, at $100,000 a pop these types of issues should really have been dealt with beforehand.
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