The electric carmaker Karma is making progress on two continents. Karma Automotive, formerly Fisker Automotive, and now with not only its new name but also new ownership by Chinese company Wanxiang Group, has announced its plans for sales in the U.S. — via a combination of company-owned showrooms and conventional auto dealerships, according to Electrek. Wanxiang is also in the approval process to build and sell Karma models in China, according to AutoNews.
Karma’s U.S. distribution plans include “using both independent dealers and also company owned, brand experience centers to sell and service the new Revero.” The Revero is the updated version of Fisker’s original Karma model. No brand experience center locations were announced, but Karma listed ten independent dealers including eight in the U.S. and two in Canada. The dealers are located in Georgia, Illinois, Texas, Florida, California, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Montreal, and Toronto.
“We spent the last year going through a long and complex process to ensure that our distribution strategy would live up to the exacting standards for luxury and service our customers will expect,” Karma’s VP of sales and service, Joost de Vries, explained the mixed distribution strategy in a press release. “There are advantages to both dealer and company-owned locations. There are also a multitude of regional, legal and business considerations that make one or the other more attractive. We chose both approaches which will benefit our customers over the lifetime of their affiliation with the brand.”
Also this week, Wanxiang’s plans for a Karma factory in Hangzhou, China became public when an application for an environmental impact review appeared on its website. The cost of the plant is set at $375 million with a capacity to produce 50,000 cars each year. The cars at that plant will be manufactured for the Chinese market.
The Chinese government intends to increase sales of “new-energy” vehicles by a factor of 10 within the next decade. The government is going to award new car production licenses to companies that don’t currently manufacture cars in order to reach its goal. License applicants need experience in both product development and manufacturing and Wanxiang Group has a good shot at qualifying because of its purchase of Fisker and battery supplier A123 Systems, and its experience producing major auto parts.
The application for the environmental impact review has not yet been approved, so the Karma Chinese factory isn’t a done deal.
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