Fisker to sell third model for under $40,000 within 5 years
Executive chairman says the company will sell a cheaper plug-in hybrid, priced under the Atlantic, by partnering with a major automaker.
Fisker wants to sell a third plug-in hybrid for less than $40,000 with the backing of a major automaker, Executive Chairman Henrik Fisker told MSN Autos on Wednesday.
The California startup, which sells the $103,000 Karma sedan and will introduce the smaller Atlantic sedan next year for roughly half the price, wants to share its technology and production costs with a large automaker starting in 2013. This new third model would be priced less than the Atlantic (pictured) and could be ready in less than five years, Fisker said.
“With a strategic partner, we will be able to make an electric vehicle extended-range premium car for under $40,000,” Fisker said during a brief stop in Boston. “It can come much sooner than you think. It doesn’t have to be five years away, let’s put it that way.”
So far, the company has held talks with three automakers in hopes of a long-term partnership that would allow it to develop a broader range of vehicles in less time. General Motors supplies engines and other components for the Karma. But if Fisker is to remain independent -- despite CEO Tony Posawatz’s suggestion on Monday that Fisker may launch an initial public offering -- it said it has to become a technology supplier and possibly co-develop a plug-in hybrid for another automaker.
“I think the advantage for any automaker to come to Fisker Automotive is that they don’t have to defocus their internal engineering team, which is already set up as a very well-oiled machine to crank out gasoline and diesel-powered cars,” Fisker said. “We don’t mind, with a strategic [original equipment manufacturer], sharing our technology, our speed, our consumer experience -- all of that, we have a lot to offer. If we do a strategic partnership, we can get some of our cars quicker to market.”
Since the company’s founding in 2007, Fisker has built and delivered 1,500 Karma sedans in the U.S. and Europe, set up a network of 79 dealerships, and is on schedule to enter two critical markets: the Middle East this month and China by year’s end. The dealerships, more than half of which are in the U.S., are the “base platform for delivering the higher-volume, lower-cost vehicles” the company hopes to build with a large automaker, Fisker said.
“The plan is to have a range of vehicles which caters to different types of people,” he said. “This drivetrain is actually perfect, I think, pretty much for any type of vehicle.”
Among those plans, in addition to a sub-$40,000 model, could be a plug-in hybrid SUV with all-wheel drive. “When we do an SUV, I can assure you we will surprise everybody,” he said.
However, the company has been hit hard by funding gaps and serious mechanical problems. Congressional scrutiny over the company’s $529 million federal loan reached a boiling point when the Karma, which is built in Finland, posted less-than-expected fuel-economy numbers. In February, the Energy Department froze Fisker’s access to the loan, which had been considered essential for the company’s survival. Shortly afterward, Fisker himself stepped down as CEO.
Later, the company was forced to issue two recalls after several of its cars caught on fire and the batteries failed on others -- including a Karma purchased by Consumer Reports. Fisker’s CEO replacement, Tom LaSorda, stepped down in August shortly before the company’s second recall.
While Fisker said the federal loan was likely to be canceled, the company has already raised more than the loan’s remaining balance – about $336 million – and is already paying down the interest, he said. Fisker has raised about $1.2 billion in private capital.
Why is the USA loaning money to FINLAND to build cars...?
Last I heard, about 25 million Americans didnt have Jobs...
Would think that money Would be better spent here in
The United States, helping Americans..
I think they sold one of these things to Justin Bieber and it crapped out on him. Caught on fire? Didn' the Chevy Volts do that too? All they need to do is change the grille a bit, add a horse collar to it and call it the "Edsel II" Close, but no cigar, sorry.
EXPLORE NEW CARS
MORE ON MSN AUTOS
ABOUT EXHAUST NOTES
Cars are cool, and here at MSN Autos we love everything about them, but we also know they're more than simply speed and style: a car is an essential tool, a much-needed accessory to help you get through your day-to-day life. What you drive is also one of the most important investments you can make, so we'll help you navigate your way through the car buying and ownership experiences. We strive to be your daily destination for news, notes, tips and tricks from across the automotive world. So whether it's through original content from our world-class journalists or the latest buzz from the far corners of the Web, Exhaust Notes helps you make sense of your automotive world.
Have a story idea? Tip us off at email@example.com.