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Fisker Announces New Customer Support Program

Fisker Announces New Customer Support Program

Fisker is still probably a long way off from building new cars anytime soon (if ever), but to avoid hanging Karma owners out to dry with no warranties, the company announced a new customer service program that will provide OEM parts and continued maintenance services. Current owners are covered for repairs costing up to $2,000, while original owners get another $2,000 for parts and $1,000 for labor. Service centers have been established at existing Fisker dealers in most major cities across the country.

Between the two most well known American-based electric car start-up companies, Fisker definitely came out on the losing end. The company founded by former Aston Martin designer Henrik Fisker declared bankruptcy in 2013 as a result of supply chain problems and recalls. China’s Wanxiang Group purchased the Fisker brand and its assets in 2014, and aside from a possible name change to Elux, that’s pretty much the last we’ve heard of the company.

Continue reading to learn more about Fisker’s latest customer support program.

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Fisker To "Elux"; Karma Will Be Relaunched In 2016

Fisker To "Elux"; Karma Will Be Relaunched In 2016

Tesla is making headlines left and right these days, but a few years ago, when Tesla was first born, there was a second budding American car company that also wanted to make its mark on the electric car market, Fisker.

Born from the brain of the legendary automotive designer Henrik Fisker, the man that helped bring us the Aston Martin DB9, Fisker Automotive was created to meld the sex and excitement of the automobile with building materials and drivetrains that were far more ecologically conscious. The result was a stunning machine named the Karma, which used an EV drivetrain with a gasoline range extender, similar to the Chevrolet Volt and BMW i3. Sadly in 2013, just two years after production started, the company filed for bankruptcy.

Since the bankruptcy, a Chinese parts company called the Wanxiang Group snapped up Fisker, and now Reuters is reporting that the automaker will be reborn under the name Elux.

Continue reading to learn more about Fisker’s future plans.

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Fisker Could Restart Production in 2015 Under a New Name

Fisker Could Restart Production in 2015 Under a New Name

Fisker Automotive had a pretty bad 2013 and saying that feels like a massive understatement. But from the ashes of bankruptcy, the company has been brought back to life by the deep pockets of Chinese auto-parts company Wanxiang. Things are definitely looking much better now for Fisker, or whatever it’s new name is going to be if, as is being reported, the new bosses at the company decide to completely build under a new company name.

Speaking to the OC Register, newly appointed Fisker interim president Roger Brown, a managing partner at Nashville-based Summit Strategic Investments who has worked with Wanxiang for years, has been coy on whether the company will be rebranded under a different name. Brown points out that whatever name it goes by moving forward, the cars have been and will always be the "rock stars."

On that end, Brown expressed confidence that the Karma luxury hybrid will be relaunched in 2015 without the multitude of problems that plagued its previous incarnation and ultimately led to the company’s bankruptcy. In addition to the Karma, Wanxiang is also looking at jump-starting the development of two other cars - the Surf wagon and the entry-level Atlantic - in the future with an eye towards launching the former in 2016 and the latter in 2017.

All this is tremendous news for people who actually had some good things to say about the Karma. That includes us. It’s just unfortunate the old regime didn’t have the right financial structure to address all the problems that came with developing its cars. None of us knew it at that time, but Fisker was a sinking ship and it was already too late to call for help.

But now that the brand is under new management and is owned by a Chinese company that apparently paid cash to buy Fisker, things are finally looking up for the once proud Fisker brand. It’s also comforting to know that, according to Brown, Wanxiang brought Fisker because it wants "to build a great car company."

But the biggest difference, and the most important one, is that Wanxiang has money. Lots of it. And from the looks of it, the company is not afraid to spend to realize its vision of turning Fisker into that great car company.

Click past the jump to read more about the Fisker Karma.

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Amid "Major Disagreements," Henrik Fisker Steps Down

Fisker’s been in serious issues for some time now and despite having a wonderful overall product, it continues to spiral further into a black hole. The EV builder has already hired an outside consultant to handle its affairs and try to find money under any rock that has yet been overturned and now the latest news really starts the door-closing procedure for the once promising company.

This latest announcement, which comes courtesy of Automotive News is that Fisker’s chairman, founder and namesake, Henrik Fisker, has resigned amid what Fisker reps are labeling “major disagreements” with its executive management on business strategy. In layman’s terms: he didn’t agree with the direction the consultant and other levels of management were planning to take the automaker.

With the resignation of this visionary, we can only see two remaining directions for Fisker: complete closure and fire sale or sale of the entire company to a foreign body, like Geely. No investors are likely to take on the risk of a company that has lost its chairman in combination with all of the other recent issues.

Unfortunately, we aren’t too sure which end result we will see, but with each passing day and gloomy announcement, the former seems the frontrunner.

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Fisker Looking into "Strategic Partnerships"

Fresh from managing to nickel and dime an extra $100 million from private investors, Fisker is all but admitting that it needs more help – significantly more. In a rcent interview, Fisker let the cat out of the proverbial bag that it is currently looking to ink some partnership deals with larger manufacturers.

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.

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Fisker Falls Short of its $150 Million in Private Funds, but Raises Enough to Continue

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”

Last time we checked, falling short of a goal by 33 percent is far from a “vote of confidence.” Then again, Fisker did thank its initial customer base, which we are sure will add plenty to the pot as they pay to upgrade the crummy infotainment system in the Karma that Fisker said it will not upgrade for free.

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.

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Leaked Fisker Documents Show That Fisker "Kinda" Cares About Customer Complaints

A life lesson that most auto buffs learned from their parents is never buy a first-release vehicle, especially if it is bearing new technology. It is bound to have tons of bugs that will drive you insane. Well, when you dump $100K on a new car, you kind of expect it to be about as bug-free as possible. In the last year, we have seen two new cars come out bearing very new technologies, the Fisker Karma and Tesla Model S.

The Model S has moved along relatively unscathed with only minor complaints here and there. The Karma, on the other hand, has had a slew of issues and complaints. Oh, and this nasty little habit of spontaneously combusting when it’s parked.

Some of these bugs are being addressed in a very lukewarm sort of way, via a Fisker-created document called the “Customer Town Hall FAQ.” Some of the highlights include Fisker admitting that its navigation system pretty much stinks and they will “investigate ways to improve system performance” and Fisker realizing that they forgot to include a mute feature for the oft-error-filled navigation system. So, not only do you have a navi system that’s incorrect, but one that constantly blurts out “Left turn ahead” in the wrong places without the ability to mute it... Hmmm.

An odd one is a complaint that the engine still comes on when the car is in “Stealth” mode — a mode where it’s supposed to be noiseless. Fisker answered this by basically saying “the engine needs lubed,” “the emissions system runs with the fuel door open,” and “the high-voltage battery may ask for a charge when it really doesn’t need one.”

The biggest FAQ is when asked about software upgrades becoming free, Fisker simply says only warranty items will be free; anything that improves the functionality of existing will always carry a fee. Nearly every other car manufacturer performs these types of upgrades free of charge, what makes Fisker think they don’t need to? If GM will update my sister’s 160,000-mile Saturn’s computer for free (done a few weeks ago), why won’t Fisker update its year-old Karma’s unsatisfactory systems?

We guess Fisker needs a few more investors before they can afford that.

Click past the jump to read the entire “Customer Town Hall FAQ.”

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Investigation Complete: Second Flaming Fisker was Caused by a Failed Fan

The second Fisker fire fiasco has officially come to a close and the investigation turned up pretty much what we all expected: the batteries were not at fault. As we stated in our initial report, the fire was near the front of the vehicle, so failed batteries would have been a rather unlikely cause.

After a full investigation by Fisker’s engineers and an “independent fire expert” from Pacific Rim Investigative Services, it was discovered that the fire source was a faulty low-temperature cooling fan. In a fit of customer service, Fisker has decided to recall all affected Karma units.

In a press release regarding the findings, Fisker makes sure that everyone knows it’s not responsible by passing the blame torch to the fan manufacturer, calling it the “responsible supplier.” While that is technically a true statement, there is really no need to openly pass that blame. In all reality, your company installed the fan and performed the obligatory testing on it.

Surprisingly, the most directly affected person – the owner of the Fisker flambe – had the following to say: “I have been incredibly impressed with the way Fisker has handled this incident. I have personally started seven technology companies and know from direct experience that the US needs more innovative companies of this type, especially in the automobile sector. Fisker is a great company and one that I am personally planning to invest in. I look forward to getting behind the wheel of my next Fisker.”

Good for the customer for being so forgiving, but we would be hard pressed to get behind the wheel of a Fisker until there is plenty testing done without any incidents of fire.

We’re glad to see this fiasco come to an end and we truly hope that this is the last of Fisker’s issues, as we want to see this alternative fuel technology succeed and this success depends on the success or failure of both Tesla and Fisker.

Click past the jump to read Fisker’s full presser.

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Fisker Seeking an Additional $150 Million in Investment Money

It’s no secret that Fisker has been walking a financial tightrope without a net, ever since the Department of Energy froze the $529 million loan to the hybrid car company. Now it appears as if they are hitting the bottom of the piggy bank, as Ray Lane, one of Fisker’s directors and managing partners, has released in an interview that they need more money to finance their next car.

According to reports, Fisker has raised an impressive $400 million in the last 12 months, but still needs an additional $150 million to help fund its next model and hit the breakeven point. This is likely not even the last of the fundraising, as Lane also alluded to the possibility of Fisker having to schmooze investors for a little more money in 2013.

After the company is no longer running at an operating loss, Lane also anticipates the company releasing an initial public offering, making Fisker a publicly traded company. If recent IPOs are any indication of the future IPO market (See: Facebook, et al) Fisker may want to rethink that plan.

We are excited to see Fisker’s next model, despite its combustion issues, but it may want to slow its roll just a little bit and focus on making the Karma a profitable venture prior to branching out, much like Tesla is doing. We guess we’ll see how this all pans out in the future, but we think Fisker’s trying to run the 400-meter hurdles before it can even walk.

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The Fisker Fire Spreads... To its CEO

When two Fisker cars catch on fire within months of each other, what’s the first action you may expect from the car company? We would expect a thorough evaluation of the situation, a final determination, then maybe some internal rearranging, given the second fire is found to be caused by an issue with the company’s manufacturing process.

They must do things a little differently at Fisker, as it has chosen to replace its CEO – the second time that has happened this year, by the way – and replace him with Chevy Volt line director, Tony Posawatz. Interesting last name for a guy heading up a hybrid car company... Reuters is also reporting that the fired CEO will be around to offer “fatherly advice” to the new CEO, but he will not hold a formal role with the company.

We don’t know if Fisker’s latest CEO to enter the revolving door has anything to do with the Fisker-b-q that’s been going on recently, but the timing sure does seem a little strange to us. We are actually due to talk with Fisker at some point today, so we will make certain to ask their rep all about this situation while we’re on the phone with him.

We’re pretty sure we’ll get a canned response about the dismissal, but it’s well worth a try nonetheless. We’ll let you know what we hear from the rep, if he tells us anything at all.

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2013 Fisker Atlantic

2013 Fisker Atlantic

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.

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2012 Fisker Nina Preview

2012 Fisker Nina Preview

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.

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A Parisian's dedication to charging his Fisker Karma

A Parisian’s dedication to charging his Fisker Karma

While the development of charging stations and wireless charging continues on a productive path, some people choose to charge their vehicles in a much more practical - and dedicated - fashion. We received a tip on an owner of a Fisker Karma in Paris that goes to great lengths - literally - to charge his hybrid sedan.

In the 16th District of Paris in "Place d’iena," where homes sell for about $3 million, a reader was able to take a picture of this Fisker Karma with its extension cord snaked out of its window. The extension cord was then stretched up to the owner’s window and undoubtedly plugged in to charge. As if that’s not ballsy enough in a neighborhood where thieves probably salivate at the opportunity of someone slipping up in their defenses, the owner left the car there overnight! This guy must really want to make sure his car is charged before going to work in the morning.

As a refresher, the Fisker Karma is a plug-in hybrid that uses a lithium-ion battery pack to power two 200+ hp electric motors for about 50 miles. Once the juice runs out of the batteries, a GM-sourced 2.0-liter gas engine producing 260 hp generates the electricity needed to power the sedan. Fisker says the Karma makes the 0 to 60 mph sprint in less than 6 seconds and can hit a top speed of more than 125 mph.

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Video: Fisker Karma heads to Jay Leno’s Garage

Jay Leno may be losing his touch. The Fisker Karma made its debut a few months ago and the car has only now made it into the late night talk show host’s garage for inspection. Of course, they could have been waiting for all of their ducks to be in a row, considering the vehicle showed up with the founder of the company — and former Aston Martin designer - Henrik Fisker.

The video is 20 minutes long and in it, Fisker explains the technology behind this impressive hybrid sedan in detail, as well as talks about the story behind this $95,900 luxury sedan.

Refresher: The Fisker Karma is a plug-in hybrid that uses a lithium-ion battery pack to power two 200+ hp electric motors for about 50 miles. Fisker says the Karma achieves the 0 to 60 mph sprint in less than 6 seconds and can hit a top speed of more than 125 mph.

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Ashton Kutcher drives Fisker Karma in Two and a Half Men

Ashton Kutcher drives Fisker Karma in Two and a Half Men

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few months, everyone knows that Charlie Sheen has been falling into a downward spiral filled with drugs, prostitutes, and questionable cases of "winning." Fed up and insulted, CBS officials cast off the tainted star and replaced him by actor and comedian, Ashton Kutcher. Not a bad replacement if you can get it, but in watching Kutcher’s first episode, we noticed another star that was not so heavily marketed. Kutcher’s ride in the series is the hybrid Fisker Karma.

The sleek extended-range electric sedan made its debut in the show when Walden Schmidt (played by Kutcher) drove up to the house. CBS undoubtedly provided the character with an up and coming hybrid car to play up Kutcher’s good boy character and leave behind the bad boy essence of Sheen.

When discussing the choice to allow CBS to use the vehicle, Fisker spokesman, Roger Ormisher, said: "We are delighted to be have been pro-actively chosen as Ashton’s car on Two and a Half Men – it will give Fisker amazing visibility not only in the US but internationally too. The on-going partnership with Two and a Half Men is one that is both exciting and motivational for everybody here at Fisker Automotive."

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Fisker Karma has been delayed yet again for July 2011

Fisker Karma has been delayed yet again for July 2011

Is the Fisker Karma the automotive equivalent of Gran Turismo 5?

Sure looks like it after the plug-in luxury sports car’s production date has been set back once again, this time until July. We’ve heard this sordid tale of run-around after run-around before and it can get pretty exhausting, especially when you consider that the Karma’s release date was supposed to happen over a year ago.

According to GreenCarReports, Roger Ormisher, director of global communications for Fisker Automotive, was quoted saying that the "first dealer [demonstration vehicles] and customer cars will arrive on these shores in July." So that pretty much rules out the earlier dates of May and June, as was previously announced by the company.

It’s disappointing, make no mistake about it. But considering that the company is still in its infancy, a little latitude should be exercised, if only to give these guys time to get their acts together. Then again, it probably isn’t a good business idea to keep delaying the product’s release date when you already raised it’s price before the car even hit the market.

This isn’t GT5, which you can just plop down 60 bucks to take home with you. $95,000 is a lot of money for people to part with and continuing to delay the release of the car could turn a lot of people off.

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First Fisker Karma rolls out of the production line

First Fisker Karma rolls out of the production line

The Fisker Karma made its debut as a concept car in 2008 at the Detroit Auto Show. Three years later, the first unit has finally rolled out of the Valmet Automotive’s plant in Uusikaupunki, Finland. US and European customers will receive their first units by next month. According to Roger Ormisher, a spokesman for Fisker: "We’re going to be ramping up very slowly, very carefully to ensure quality. This year we want to get over 7,000 deliveries." Very slowly, huh? And how would that be different than what they’ve been doing?

The Karma uses a lithium-ion battery pack to power two 200+ hp electric motors for about 50 miles. Once the juice runs out of the batteries, a GM-sourced 2.0-liter gas engine making 260 hp generates the electricity needed to power the sedan. Fisker says the Karma makes the 0 to 60 mph sprint in less than 6 seconds and can hit a top speed of more than 125 mph. The hybrid sedan has a fuel consumption of 2.4L/100 km (100 mpg) fuel consumption and a CO2 emission of just 83g/km.

On the US market, prices started from $88,400 after an eligible $7,500 tax credit.

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2011 Fisker Karma

2011 Fisker Karma

With gas prices heading well above $3.00 per gallon in most states, economical cars and trucks have made a resurgence in the American automotive consumer’s mind. One can hardly drive down a road without seeing one of the first and most popular hybrid cars, the Toyota Prius. Most major manufacturers have since produced these types of vehicles and there are more new models in the works, even from upstart luxury manufacturers.

One of the premier automotive designers in the industry felt hybrid cars were lacking in both excitement and luxury, and decided to take it upon himself to create a new segment. Henrik Fisker previously designed such memorable cars as the BMW Z8 and the Aston Martin DB9. His company originally made several re-bodied versions of the Mercedes SL and the BMW 6-series, but in very limited production and a high price tag. Fisker Automotive became a true manufacturer in 2007 with the simple idea of creating an inspired, beautiful, and exciting luxury hybrid vehicles. Shortly after, the Fisker Karma was introduced at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show. It’s easy to see why it turned more than a few heads with its voluptuous flowing lines and promised 50-mile full electric range.

As if drop-dead good looks were not enough to distinguish this car from other eco-friendly vehicles, the performance numbers help the Karma truly pull away from the crowd. Its 0-60 mph performance is said to be in the neighborhood of 5.8 seconds with a top speed of 125 mph. The Karma may not be able to keep up with your neighbor’s Porsche Panamera, but while you’re getting 67 miles per gallon, he will be sitting at a gas station.

UPDATE 03/23/2011: Three years after the Karman first debuted at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show, the first unit has finally rolled out of the Valmet Automotive’s plant in Uusikaupunki, Finland. US and European customers will receive their first units by next month.

UPDATE 07/13/11: Finally, the Fisker Karma is set to be delivered to its first customers. It took a long time, but the wait is now over. The luxury plug-in hybrid sedan is scheduled to be delivered later this month with the first person expected to get his hands on it being no other than Hollywood A-lister and eco-guy Leonardo di Caprio. According to Fisker, there are already 3,000 pre-orders for the car with the wait list expected to hit until early 2012.

Hit the jump for more details on the 2011 Fisker Karma.

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