Fisker planning triumphant return with new ownership and a new model

Fisker is best known for producing the Karma electric vehicle in the early 2010s, but the luxury automaker has a tumultuous, jagged history.

Co-founded in 2007 by Danish designer Henrik Fisker, the California-based automaker had several issues right out of the gate, a patent lawsuit by Tesla being the first. The suit was settled in Fisker’s favor, but things started to go downhill from there. After years of failed loans, layoffs, and languish, Fisker filed for bankruptcy in 2013.

Henry Fisker resigned his position as Executive Chairman in March of that year, and returned to his previous craft as a motorcycle designer.

His company was then purchased by the Wanxiang Group, who planned to relaunch the Karma in the first 18 months. Wanxiang Group’s optimistic goals included selling 1,000 Karmas in the United States and 500 more in Europe during that timeframe, but, in true Fisker fashion, there have been some roadblocks.

Pin Ni, president of Wanxiang’s U.S. division, told Automotive News, “At Fisker, the biggest issue is to solve the problems. There are about 250 bugs in [the Karma] we need to de-bug.”

Ni is still optimistic about reviving the Karma within a year, but given its historical issues with fires, recalls, and overall quality, he’s committed to perfecting the vehicle before it goes on sale.

“I often say that Wanxiang can afford to make cars, but Wanxiang cannot afford to make bad cars,” he said.

After the Karma is reborn, Fisker has a second model in the works. Ni and Waxiang chairman Lu Guanqiu wouldn’t go into details on the car yet, but they hope to have it on the road by 2017.

“The new Fisker” is currently focused on finding new supply chains and high-quality components, but Waxiang group has its eyes on the horizon as well. Marine-themed models called the Atlantic, Surf, and Sunset are all on the charts.

The cars may have soothing names, but remember, this is Fisker we’re talking about here. There’s bound to be some drama.


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