Fisker is in some serious trouble, as disagreements between management and its founder resulted in Henrik Fisker to step down from his position. Fiskers only real hope at this point is to find a buyer or a strategic partner to help alleviate its financial issues. For a long time, Geely – Volvo’s owner – would end up being the high bidder, mostly due to their interest in Fisker’s Delaware assembly plant. According to a report from Reuters, Geely has pulled out of the bidding process because of the DOE loan conditions.
This leaves only one bidder in the running for Fisker and that bidder is China-owned Dongfeng Motor Group Co. It is unclear at this time whether Fisker will automatically accept Dongfeng’s offer, but at this point, that look like the only real option. Depending on the terms of a potential deal, this could result in Fisker becoming partially owned by China – creepy…
Regardless of how things pan out, we really want to see Fisker survive all of this. We’ll continue to keep you updated.
Fisker began development of a revolutionary car, the Karma , roughly four years ago. At that time, folks were optimistic, excited, and had almost only good things to say about this upstart company. It’s crazy how fast things can change.
As time moved on, Fisker started running into some real issues that would likely destroy many startup companies. The downward trend started with the DOE freezing its loan to Fisker after it had only used about half of the available funds. The next issue was a pair or recalls – one in December 2011 and another in May 2012 – because of incorrectly positioned hose clamps that could cause a coolant leak. And you likely know, electricity and water do not mix.. Then came the fires…
The first fire came about in April 2012, when a man’s house and other two cars were damaged after his Karma caught fire in the garage. The cause of that fire was not known, but it is likely related to the following fire that came just months later. This second fire occurred in August and was easily contained to just the front end of the $100K luxury car. The one good thing to come out of this fire is that Fisker was quick to the aid of the owner and quick to mobilize a group of outside investigators to figure out that it was a failed low-temperature fan that caused the flame.
This final fire brought about the final recall of the Karma, to date. In this recall, Fisker asked 1,377 Karma customers to bring cars in to have the cooling fan replaced. Between all of these issues were complaints from customers about a Command Center that didn’t operate effectively and a “Stealth” mode that wasn’t too stealthy. Adding to those complaints was a very poor review of the Karma by Consumer Reports.
With these issues came a shellacking from the press – automotive and general – and all Fisker could do was try and get its own version of the story out. Well, we just gave Fisker an avenue to air its side of the story in our exclusive interview with Fisker’s Senior Director of Global Corporate Communications & PR, Roger Fisker.
To read what Fisker has to say about these issues and more about its future, click past the jump.
A123 has been put through the ringer in recent history, most notably with its massive battery recall, and now it is just about belly up. Things were starting to look up for the battery make when it announced that a $450 million deal had been reached with Wanxiang Group Corp, but that deal recently fell through.
Now the inevitable is upon A123, as news came across the board that A123 had filed for bankruptcy protection, despite having received a $249 million government grant. With this bankruptcy filing also comes the likely liquidation of its assets. It appears as if A123 has already gotten a head start on this liquidation by negotiating to sell off its automotive business to Johnson Controls – well-known for building nearly every lead-acid and gel battery sold.
The deal is not yet done, but it is reportedly for the sum of $125 million and will include the Fisker , GM, and BMW contracts that A123 has already inked. Part of the proposed deal includes Johnson Controls fronting A123 $72.5 million in “debtor possession” funds to keep the bankrupt company running while the sale is being completed. There is no timetable for the completion of the deal, but per the press release, things will continue as usual for A123 during the entire sale process.
All we can hope for is a full turnaround once this technology gets in the hands of Johnson Controls, as the fate of the EV realm rests heavily on the technologies developed by A123. This could possibly be part of the reason that Fisker wasn’t shy about announcing that the upcoming Atlantic was delayed. We’ll also keep an eye on the Chevy Spark EV project to see if that is put on hold until this situation is resolved.
The last time we checked in on Fisker , it had fallen short of its $150 million fundraising goal by about $50 million, but said that was plenty to help fund the development of the upcoming Atlantic sedan. Just recently, Fisker had an investor meeting and it had a little bit of bad news, per reports, as the Atlantic ’s pre-production may not start until 2014. The anticipated timeline for the Atlantic was a 2013 startup, so this would place it about two years late to the party.
There are no reports as to why production is being delayed, but it is likely either a delay in getting the former GM plant that it purchased up to date for production or choosing an overseas assembly site. Once production gets rolling, Fisker will be adding over 1,000 jobs – hopefully to the U.S. market – plus it’ll be able to use this opportunity to put some of the Karma issues behind it. One issue that will certainly be resolved is the Karma’s high price, as according to the report, the Atlantic will come in at a relatively affordable $55,000 base price.
Also outlined in the presentation is the fact that Fisker is looking to partner up with other automakers to spread the Atlantic’s platform to other makes. That really comes as no surprise because that was already rumored, but now we have a little confirmation.
We are due to have a sit down with Fisker reps soon and this information will certainly be added onto the list of topics that we will cover.
Though there is no mention of who Fisker may be looking to partner up with, its CEO-for-the-moment, Tony Posawatz, said that a partnership is “on our radar screen.” Chances are it will be looking for deals similar to the ones that Tesla has entered into with Daimler and Toyota . The real question is who would be interested in tying themselves to Fisker at this point in the game?
With the financial, quality, and safety issues that Fisker has endured lately, it may be more of a burden than it’s worth. This is almost the identical reason that no one is interested in Lotus to date; it’s just too risky of a venture.
Fisker may be willing to sweet the pot on a potential deal by covering more production costs or giving up partial ownership to help draw in an industry leader, like acquisition-happy Volkswagen , in order to get some much-needed cash flow. As it stands right now, Fisker needs help and a partnership may be its only way to survive.
We’ll keep an eye on this to see if Fisker can convince a fellow automaker to take a risk by inking a production deal of some sort.
So, Fisker has been out and about doing its corporate panhandling, err, "fundraising program" in an attempt to raise $150 million to keep its doors open and develop a red hot following to the on-fire Karma, which sold 1,500 models – all of which have been recalled at least once. Fisker plans to release this new follow-up model, the Atlantic, in December 2012.
Well, it looks like interest is starting to decrease in the Fisker line up, as it fell a full $50 million short of its fundraising goal. Fisker’s latest CEO stand-in, Tony Posawatz, seems to think that this is plenty of money to keep the heat turned on and develop its follow up model to the Karma. In a statement, Posawatz said ““We are grateful to both our investors and our initial customers who have supported our company and are quickly becoming our biggest advocates.” He also said “This is another major vote of confidence in Fisker’s pioneering technology and business model”
Since 2007, Fisker has swindled investors out of $1.2 billion dollars and the federal government also tossed in an additional $193 million before turning off the leaking faucet that was its $529 million loan promise to Fisker. So that means they blew through about $240 million per year.
So the Fisker saga will continue for at least a short amount of time, as that $100 million likely won’t get them too far – maybe another six months. We should get to see at least a few CEO changes as it burns through the quarters and pennies that investors tossed into Fisker’s coffee can as they drove by…
We wonder how Tesla is doing…
Click past the jump to read Fisker’s press release.
This may surprise many of you, but the simple fact is that many automotive manufacturers who take their chance in the luxury car market, or supercar market, actually lose money from the venture.
This is exactly the case with the Lexus LFA , and despite its $375,000 price tag, the company has made no money with its V10-powered supercar and it’s the same story for many other manufacturers. This also helps explain why the next LFA may cost twice as much as the original, as the Japanese firm cannot afford to lose any more money on the vehicle.
However, by some miracle, Fisker has managed to develop and produce its advanced Karma sedan without losing a penny and this is backed up by the fact that the small Californian firm has already delivered 1,000 vehicles in the first quarter of 2012 and raked in $100 million in revenue.
Now these results would be all good and well if Fisker was satisfied having only one model for the coming years, but they’re not. In fact, the brand hopes to put the Atlantic concept into production as soon as possible and needs to acquire as much funding from the U.S. government as possible, as well as maintain the already impressive sales figures of the Karma.
One of the auto industry’s highly anticipated secrets is finally ready to break cover at the 2012 New York Auto Show .
For the fine folks of Fisker , the debut of the Fisker Atlantic - ’twas once codenamed "Project Nina" - marks as a celebration in its own right, a culmination of years of hard work and dedication.
And now that it’s ready for its world premier, Fisker has come out with the first official details of the car, as well as photos that finally gives us a good look at what they’ve been working on all this time.
Judging by its looks, the Atlantic looks like a bigger version of the Karma, albeit with a more pronounced stance that’s typical of its sedan form. The unmistakable Karma grille is also present, which we’ve never been fans of from the beginning.
All in all, though, the Atlantic looks pretty neat and when matched with a hybrid powertrain should make for a model that would draw the interest of a lot of people.
UPDATE 05/21/12:InsideEVs appears to have discovered new information about the Fisker Atlantic, involving the car’s official power train and how much it’s going to cost.
While we initially thought the the car would have a 2.0-liter engine similar to the 328i sedan with a matching electric motor, producing a total of 240 horsepower, it appears that the Atlantic will have a little bit more ponies than we thought. According to InsideEV, the car will be powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and an electric drivetrain, producing an output of 300 horsepower with a 0-60 mph time of 6.5 seconds and CO2 emissions of around 50 g/km.
It looks like the Atlantic will be carrying a sticker price of anywhere between $50,000 - $60,000. That’s still a far departure from the Karma, which retails now for just under $100,000.
Find out more about the Fisker Atlantic after the jump.
Fisker has been one of the more exciting rollercoaster rides in the automotive industry, as of late. In 2010, it was developing an extended range hybrid, then known as the Nina , and the Department of Energy was interested enough to provide the struggling company with a $529 million loan. This loan was three fold; part of it was for additional research for the Karma, part was for the Nina’s development, and the final portion was to renovate the old GM plant in Delaware.
Apparently Fisker didn’t meet the DOE’s expectations and they froze the loan in 2011, due to “unmet milestones.” Fisker then insisted that production of the Atlantic (the production name of the Nina) will commence at the Delaware plant, despite laying off 26 employees in early-February.
Well, the layoffs are still coming, as Fisker just let go of an additional 12 employees, including engineers and maintenance technicians, from its Delaware plant, which one laid off engineer called “absolutely empty.”
This is really making it look as if the Atlantic will not be produced in the Delaware plant. For that matter, it is starting to look like the Fisker brand as a whole may be in some significant trouble. The true question here is will the DOE see that Fisker’s recent progress is good enough to thaw out those loan funds and allow the company to continue its renovation of the Delaware plant and research on the Atlantic project? Or will the DOE watch Fisker squirm as it gasps for air wherever it can?
Chances are releasing the loan funds will never happen and it is looking like Fisker may fizzle out and end up amongst the heap of failed car companies, alongside Packard, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac . Only time will tell, but seeing the Atlantic – an affordable hybrid sports sedan – hit the market would be a great thing for the environment and the entire hybrid realm.
We’ve heard, but not seen, a lot about Fisker’s newest model, the Nina. At some point, it only seemed right for Fisker to finally give us a good look at what they’re working on, right? Well, they finally did, except that there’s not a whole lot to work with as far as what they have shown.
The image is a teaser sketch of the Fisker Nina, a plug-in hybrid coupe that appears to share the same design language of the Karma with the former looking to be proportioned a little bigger than the latter.
Not much was mentioned about the Nina, except that it’s set to make its debut at the 2012 New York Auto Show. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on any new developments surrounding the Fisker Nina. If for nothing else, we’ll at least have a good idea on what Fisker is planning for their post-Karma offering.