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Fisker Karma

gregincal

Active Member
Oct 26, 2012
3,764
2,294
Santa Cruz, CA
Yeah, I take this quote:

In a statement, Fisker confirmed that it let go about 75 percent of its workforce. The automaker said it was "a necessary strategic step in our efforts to maximize the value of Fisker's core assets."

As meaning that they couldn't find a buyer willing to continue making the car, and are getting ready to sell off whatever assets they have piecemeal.
 

aaronw

Member
Dec 19, 2012
292
0
United States
I am not at all surprised that Fisker failed. My father bought a Fisker Karma about a year ago. When I took one for a test drive before he bought it I must say that in many ways I was disappointed. To say that the software was buggy was an understatement. The entire time I was driving the car it kept going "bong bong" due to being stuck in some weird parking assist mode the dealer couldn't get it out of. The car clearly wasn't ready for prime time yet this was the shipping car. If the software was that bad I wondered how bad the rest of the car was. It was clear that there hadn't been a lot of testing. I tried to talk my father out of it but he went ahead anyway (his car is prominently shown at the top of the Fisker Buzz forums). I saw the writing on the wall after the Consumer Reports article and the fires, even if they had nothing to do with the batteries. The A123 bankruptcy was the final nail in the coffin, so to speak. His car has also been in the shop more times than I can count, including being towed in on more than one occasion, and the problems have not been minor issues either.

Fisker was badly managed. They burned through a lot of money that should have been spent making a quality car and missed the milestones for the federal loan which was to help them build a factory to build their Atlantic car. Sadly, the Atlantic would suffer the same problems that plagued the Karma. It had a cramped interior with the same battery design running down the middle.

My father still has his Karma and loves it dearly and it's sad to see what happened to Fisker.
 

ljbad4life

Member
Nov 6, 2009
427
173
Let me state this, I was one of the first people in the USA to even lay eyes upon the Karma, and I was really charmed by its looks. I must admit I considered buying one, but after the price hikes and other short comings I decided against it. Every car has it's flaws and the flaws of the Karma contradict me and my lifestyle.

On to fisker's failures:

First and foremost was releasing the Karma with so many bugs, some of which will never be fixed. The command center is completely botched from a hardware stand point (under powered and poorly designed) and would have to be completely replaced. New cars launch with issues, but the issues weren't met with a "we are going to fix it now" attitude, but with a "it's new deal with it" attitude particularly at first(case in point that newspaper ad that said yeah we launch cars with bugs, but it's pretty). They didn't listen to the early adopters, they even had award winning software designers telling them that they would write code and fix the bugs in the command center for free.

Second is the money. Why was so much money spent on R&D to bring the Karma to market when there should have been so little R&D to do? Everything was out sourced! the drive train and all components were bought else where so no R&D there, the command center was outsourced so no R&D there. The only R&D funds I see getting spent is on the interior, exterior and the fitting of the drive train into the chassis. The chassis was newly built specifically for the Karma, but the chassis isn't revolutionary in any way, just standard affair (in the vain of inventing something new). It seems like the executives were bilking the company and the investors for money

Now for the Opinion:

The Karma should have been a SULEV to get it the Carpool lane stickers for single occupancy (like in CA and NY). people would have bought it in droves just for the stickers (particularly in CA), it also would have helped the green cred of the car. I know Fisker did something for the European buyers in this regard, but what about the rest of the world?

Fisker should have released the Surf first or at least attempted to release it. One of the major complaints was interior room and trunk space. The surf is bigger inside with extra leg room and trunk space. It would help Fisker's market share (you know the european market love their wagons) and there wasn't much more R&D to bring the Surf to market.

Fisker is in a world of hurt and it looks like no one wants to buy them. Fisker has no sort of IP of their own except for their design, which promptly resigned and walked out the door (Henrik). I don't see anything short of a miracle saving this company and sadly this will hurt the EV cause, because everyone will point to this as an example.
 

doug

Administrator / Head Moderator
Nov 28, 2006
16,928
1,041
SF Bay Area
Why was so much money spent on R&D to bring the Karma to market when there should have been so little R&D to do? Everything was out sourced! the drive train and all components were bought else where so no R&D there, the command center was outsourced so no R&D there. The only R&D funds I see getting spent is on the interior, exterior and the fitting of the drive train into the chassis.
I'm also interested to know what went on there. Maybe it will come out. I think what happened was that Fisker expected a complete drivetrain solution from Quantum that would just work, but it didn't. In May of 2009, Fisker said they'd be delivering Karmas by December. But in September of 2009 they got their DOE loan, ~$160M went to engineering for the Karma (that they previously said was near completed). Fitting the drivetrain in the chassis was likely no easy task since Fisker was unwilling to compromise on aesthetics. Also outsourced engineering is still engineering you have to pay for.
 

ljbad4life

Member
Nov 6, 2009
427
173
I'm also interested to know what went on there. Maybe it will come out. I think what happened was that Fisker expected a complete drivetrain solution from Quantum that would just work, but it didn't. In May of 2009, Fisker said they'd be delivering Karmas by December. But in September of 2009 they got their DOE loan, ~$160M went to engineering for the Karma (that they previously said was near completed). Fitting the drivetrain in the chassis was likely no easy task since Fisker was unwilling to compromise on aesthetics. Also outsourced engineering is still engineering you have to pay for.

Shouldn't the outsourced engineering be included in the final cost of the finished product (the drivetrain for example)? Or it doesn't work like that in the auto industry?

I'm also wondering since the Quantum powertrain was supposed to be done, there should have been very little money to be spent there. If Quantum wasn't able to produce, where was the contract they signed?? If I don't produce for another company what I say I will I get hit with fees or forfeit my payment.

I'm sure that Fisker could have bent the arm of Quantum for an extremely good price since Quantum didn't get the gov't contract they were bidding on and no one else showed any interest in using their powertrain. Maybe Quantum couldn't get a workable solution, but I do remember them having H1's running on their powertrain.....
 

doug

Administrator / Head Moderator
Nov 28, 2006
16,928
1,041
SF Bay Area
Yeah, again not sure what happened with Quantum. I know they are/were still considered a supplier on some level, particularly related to software, and the current drivetrain is pretty much the arrangement they originally got from Quantum. But Fisker dropped the Quantum and QDrive branding. A Fisker engineer told me in 2011 that Quantum was less involved.
 

doug

Administrator / Head Moderator
Nov 28, 2006
16,928
1,041
SF Bay Area
Well you can bet there will be more of this political blow-back coming.

 
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bonnie

I play a nice person on twitter.
Feb 6, 2011
16,427
9,742
Columbia River Gorge
Wow. blah blah blah Obama blah Obama blah blah Obama blah Solyn..SoDARlya ... Obama. Now THAT's fair and balanced reporting, folks. (Love the 'government gone wild' tag in the lower corner. Biased? No, we're not biased.)

sigh. The real issue, of course, is the blowback on the EV industry as a whole. Hopefully a year from now this will just be remembered as a hiccup in the road.
 

SwedishAdvocate

Active Member
Jul 26, 2012
1,797
227
Sweden, Earth
and here’s a Bloomberg segment if anyone’s interested. The anchor keeps trying to pull in Tesla into the picture for comparisons and starting at 1:12 they start speculating whether there’s a big enough market for cars like Tesla’s Model S. A really, really shallow and twiddly (meaning short(?)) bit…


Update:

For the record there’s a different, or perhaps unedited four-minute segment here with the same anchor and commentator:

Fisker Slashes Workforce: Bloomberg West (4/5): Video - Bloomberg

You’ll find the segment between:

09.05 – 13.04

It’s perhaps a bit better with regards to Tesla.
 
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dsm363

Roadster + Sig Model S
May 17, 2009
18,278
152
Nevada
That's what I find funny. We can't invest in green energy with loans but we can give tax breaks to other energy concerns.
 

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