Fisker Automotive

Fisker Automotive, Inc.
Fisker auto.jpg
TypePrivate Corporation
FoundedAugust 1, 2007[1]
Founder(s)Henrik Fisker,
Bernhard Koehler[2]
HeadquartersAnaheim, California, U.S.[3]
Key peopleTony Posawatz, (CEO)[4]
Bernhard Koehler, (COO)[5]
Henrik Fisker, (Executive chairman)[6]
ProductsPlug-in hybrid cars, Luxury cars

Fisker Automotive, Inc. is an American automaker based inAnaheim, California.[3] The company’s first product is theFisker Karma, one of the world’s first production plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. It debuted at the 2008 North American International Auto Show, creating the premium green car segment in which most major manufacturers have since announced they would compete.

Fisker originally intended to sell the Karma in late 2009, but after repeated delays,[7][8] theEnvironmental Protection Agency certified the car’s vehicle emissions and drive range in October 2011,[9] and thereafter Fisker commenced delivery of production vehicles in the USA.[10]

The Fisker Atlantic concept was unveiled in April 2012 at the New York International Auto Show and it is expected to be produced at a former GM plant in Delaware around 2013.[11]



  • 1 History
  • 2 Production models
    • 2.1 Karma
  • 3 Concept vehicles
    • 3.1 Fisker Surf and Sunset
    • 3.2 Fisker Atlantic
  • 4 Sales
  • 5 Manufacturing
    • 5.1 Cost savings
  • 6 Investors
    • 6.1 U.S. government loan
  • 7 Legal dispute with Tesla Motors
  • 8 See also
  • 9 References
  • 10 External links


Fisker Karma outside the Fisker headquarters in Anaheim, California

Henrik Fisker co-founded the company in 2007 with business partner Bernhard Koehler (Fisker Coachbuild) and Quantum Technologies after securing a relatively small investment from Gianfranco Pizzuto, an Italian businessman, and Palo Alto Investors. Henrik Fisker is responsible for designing some of the world’s most iconic cars such as the Aston Martin DB9 and V8 Vantage, Artega GT and BMW Z8. He also served as design director and sat on the board at Aston Martin.

Prior to Fisker Automotive, Henrik Fisker and Koehler left Aston Martin in 2005 to establish Fisker Coachbuild, in an attempt to revive the art of coach building automobiles to customer specifications.[12] The Fisker Tramanto and Latigo utilized chassis and power trains from Mercedes-Benz SL and BMW 6-Seriesautomobiles. Several were purchased but the business soon gave way to Fisker Automotive, a true automobile manufacturer.

In February 2012, Tom LaSorda was named the new CEO,[13] and Henrik Fisker became Executive Chairman.[14] but only six months later on August 14, La Sorda was replaced by Tony Posawatz, previously General Motors Vehicle Line Director for the Chevrolet Volt.[15]

[edit]Production models


Main article: Fisker Karma

The Karma is a plug-in hybrid luxury sports sedan produced by Fisker Automotive and manufactured at Valmet Automotive in Finland. After missing its initial late 2009 launch, and after the launch was rescheduled several times, the first deliveries took place in the U.S. in late July 2011 and deliveries to retail customers began in November 2011.

The 20.1 kWh (72.36 MJ) lithium ion rechargeable battery in each car will come from A123 Systems in Watertown, Massachusetts. The aluminum frame was engineered by Fisker and is supplied by Norsk Hydro from Norway. The cabin interior is designed by Fisker Automotive, but made in the United States byMagna International of Canada. The EVer powertrain system, technically a series hybrid, delivers over 400 horsepower, and was inspired by Quantum Technologies, a co-founder of and early investor in Fisker.[16]

[edit]Concept vehicles

[edit]Fisker Surf and Sunset

Fisker Sunset concept

The Fisker Surf was unveiled at the 2011Frankfurt Motor Show

Fisker unveiled the Karma Shardtop convertible concept in 2009.[17]

The Fisker Surf plug-in hybridconcept car was unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.[18] The Surf would have an all-electric range of 50 mi (80 km) and an additional 250 mi (400 km) when the gasoline engine is engaged acting as a generator to charge the battery pack. Like the Karma, the Surf operates in Sport or energy-saving Stealth modes. In Sport, the car can reach 60 mph (97 km/h) from 0 in 5.9 seconds and the maximum speed is 125 mph (201 km/h). According to Henrik Fisker, the Surf would be part of the company’s lineup and would be available for North American and international delivery in 2013. Price was expected be in the same range as the Karma.[19] In early 2012 the company announced to drop their plans to produce the Surf and the Sunset. Instead, decided to proceed with production of the Fisker Atlantic.[20]

[edit]Fisker Atlantic

Main article: Fisker Atlantic

In April 2012, Fisker unveiled their model Atlantic at the 2012 New York International Auto Show. The Fisker Atlantic, originally called “Project Nina”,[21]shares the range-extender system from the larger Karma, but uses a four-cylinder BMW sourced gasoline engine, which acts as a generator to keep the batteries charged. The Atlantic is rear-wheel drive, with the option of four-wheel drive.[22] The expected all-electric range is 30 mi (48 km).[23]

The Atlantic is scheduled to become Fisker Automotive’s second production car, after plans to produce the Fisker Surf and Sunset variants of its full-size Karma were shelved earlier in 2012. Production was initially scheduled to begin by the end of 2012 at former GM plant in Wilmington, Delaware. By October 2012 the carmaker decided to postpone production for late 2014 or 2015 due to financial constraints.[20]


By February 2012, Fisker had established 45 dealerships in the US and three in Canada.[24] By March 2012, the company had built 2,000 vehicles, with over 500 delivered to customers.[25]

Fisker expects about half its sales to originate in Europe and the rest of the world by 2012. The company has partnered with four importers as of the fall of 2010: GP Supercars (Merano, Italy), Nellemann (Copenhagen, Denmark); the Emil Frey Group (Zurich, Switzerland); and BD Otomotive (Istanbul, Turkey).[26]It has partnered with Al-Futtaim Group to distribute its cars in the Middle East and North Africa.[27]


Fisker Automotive is noted for its outsource business model, which retains core competencies in-house but heavily leverages the resources of suppliers, with substantial savings resulting. [28] These savings have allowed Fisker to compete with similarly priced models such as the Porsche Panamera hybrid, BMW 7 Series ActiveHybird, and Maserati Quattroporte. Fisker’s outsourcing methods have allowed the company in a 2–3 year period of development instead of the typical 5 years and at a cost of $333 million instead of $1 billion.[28]

Due to its outsourcing model, the company claims that it can make a profit from selling just 15,000 cars.[1] In 2008 Fisker estimated 15,000 cars per year will be assembled by Valmet Automotive in Uusikaupunki, Finland.[29]

On October 27, 2009, Fisker officials announced that the company had signed a letter of intent to take control of the Boxwood Road Plant (previously owned and operated by General Motors) in Wilmington, Delaware:[30]

Production is scheduled to begin in late 2012. Fisker Automotive anticipates Project NINA will ultimately create or support 2,000 factory jobs and more than 3,000 vendor and supplier jobs by 2014, as production ramps up to full capacity of 75,000-100,000 vehicles per year. More than half will be exported, the largest percentage of any domestic manufacturer.

Vice President Joe Biden attended the announcement.[30] In addition to a purchase price of $20 million, Fisker expects to invest $175 million re-tooling the plant.[31] The Government of Delaware provided $21 million in funding for the plant.[32] Fisker later suspended development of the Wilmington plant as a result of a freeze on its federal loan and suggested that production might shift elsewhere unless its funding is restored.[32][33]

[edit]Cost savings

Fisker saves significant development costs by using pre-engineered components developed by other car companies whenever possible, as long as it does not compromise the integrity of its vehicles or the customer experience. For example, the door handle mechanism is actually a General Motors part, Fisker Automotive just pays a fee to GM for each door handle in the Karma, which is much cheaper than designing its own door handles.[16]


Fisker Automotive’s investors include Leonardo DiCaprio,[34] Palo Alto Investors, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Qatar Holdings, LLC, A123 Systems and Ace Investments. In April 2012, Fisker announced it had received $392 million in a recent round of financing,[35] which is in addition to $850 million in private investment it had received in previous rounds.[36]

[edit]U.S. government loan

In 2009 Henrik Fisker mentioned plans for another plug-in hybrid, a “high-volume vehicle for a lower price”, subject to getting a U.S. Department of Energygrant[37] to build about 100,000 vehicles annually in the United States.[38]

Fisker received a $528.7 million conditional loan in September 2009 from the Department of Energy’s $25 billion Advanced Technologies Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program (ATVM).[39][40] A total of $169.3 million is for engineering work with primarily American suppliers to complete the Fisker Karma, design tools and equipment, and develop manufacturing processes. The DOE announcement of the conditional loan went on to reveal the code name for the new vehicle: “The second stage includes a $359.36 million ATVM loan for Fisker’s Project Nina, involving the manufacture of a plug-in hybrid in the U.S.”,[41] expected to reduce pollution corresponding to 30,000 fewer cars.[39]For comparison, the $465 million ATVM loan to Tesla corresponds to 5,000 fewer cars.[42] “Project Nina” was later revealed as the Fisker Atlantic.

Fisker’s ATVM loan has attracted some controversy. Politicians and journalists have drawn comparisons with similar loans received by the now-bankrupt solar cell manufacturer Solyndra.

After drawing $193 million, the government froze Fisker’s credit line in May 2011 after it was determined that the company had not met milestones set as conditions for the loan[33] and hired Houlihan Lokey to assist in monitoring Fisker’s progress.[43] The loan received additional scrutiny for being awarded for the manufacture of luxury vehicles that are too expensive for much of the general public.[44] Fisker investor Ray Lane responded that the issues were being blown out of proportion due to election year politics.[44]

[edit]Legal dispute with Tesla Motors

On April 14, 2008, Tesla Motors filed a lawsuit against Fisker Automotive, alleging they stole Tesla’s technology and are using it to develop their own hybrid car, the Fisker Karma, which was announced at the North American International Auto Show in January 2008. Tesla’s suit claims that the design work done for the Model S by Fisker Coachbuild was substandard, and that Fisker diverted its best ideas to the Karma.[45]

In early 2009 the suit was settled in Fisker’s favor and Tesla was ordered to pay Fisker more than $1.1 million in legal fees.[46][47]

[edit]See also

  • List of hybrid vehicles


  1. ab“Driven: How Henrik Fisker Aims to Floor the Auto Industry | Magazine”. 2010-06-22. Retrieved 2010-06-30.
  2. ^Fact SheetFisker Automotive
  3. ab
  4. ^“Tony Posawatz replaces Tom LaSorda as Fisker CEO”. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
  5. ^“Biography of Fisker Automotive COO Bernhard Koehler”. 2009-09-15. Retrieved 2012-07-10.
  6. ^Leadership TeamFisker Automotive
  7. ^ Poornima Gupta (2010-05-27).”Fisker to build 100 test Karma cars in 2010″. Reuters. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  8. ^“Fisker Karma Has Been Delayed Yet Again For July 2011”. Top Speed. 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2011-06-10.
  9. ^ John Voelcker (2011-10-18).”2012 Fisker Karma: 20 MPG On Gasoline, 32-Mi Electric Range”. Green Car Reports. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  10. ^ Kari Hamanaka (2011-12-20).”Fisker Doubles Target in Latest Financing Round to $300 million”.Orange County Business Journal. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  11. ^ Viknesh Vijayenthiran (2011-10-21). “Fisker’s Project Nina To Enter Production By End Of 2012”.MotorAuthority. High Gear Media. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  12. ^ Callaway, Sue Zesiger (September 19, 2007). “When a perfect Porsche isn’t good enough”. Fortune. Retrieved November 23, 2011.
  13. ^“Fisker CEO revamps business plan amid Karma woes”. The Guardian. 4 April 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  14. ^“Fisker Automotive Appoints Tom LaSorda As CEO”. Fisker Automotive. 28 February 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  15. ^Wired Autopia 14 August 2012
  16. ab Muller, Joann (2009-06-08).”The Next Detroit (page 2)” Retrieved 2009-09-14.
  17. ^ Wes Siler (2009-01-13). “Fisker Karma S Sunset: World’s First Hybrid Convertible”. Jalopnik. Retrieved 2009-12-03.
  18. ^ Donny Nordlicht (2011-09-13).”AUTO SHOWS: First Look: Fisker Surf Concept”. Automobile Magazine. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  19. ^ Jerry Garrett (2011-09-13). “With Surf, Fisker Builds a Karma Hauler”. The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-10-18.
  20. ab Nikki Gordon-Blommfield (2012-10-16). “Fisker Atlantic Plug-in Sedan Delayed Until At Least Late 2014”. Green Car Reports. Retrieved 2012-10-18.
  21. ^ LaMonica, Martin (2 April 2012).”Leaked images show Fisker’s Atlantic plug-in EV”. C|net. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
  22. ^ Stevens, Tim. “Fisker Atlantic EVer unveiled in New York”EnGadget 3 April 2012. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
  23. ^ Matt DeLorenzo (2012-04-03).”Fisker Atlantic – First Look”. Road & Track. Retrieved 2012-10-18.
  24. ^“Fisker Expands Reach Into Canada”. Fisker Automotive. 2 February 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  25. ^“Consumer Reports’ $100K Fisker Karma dies on arrival”. USA Today. 8 March 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  26. ^“Fisker Automotive Fact Sheet”.Fisker Automotive. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  27. ^“Fisker Automotive Expands Reach in Middle East & North Africa”(Press release). Fisker Automotive. April 23, 2012. Retrieved April 28, 2012.
  28. ab Muller, Joann (2009-06-08).”The Next Detroit”. Retrieved 2009-09-14.
  29. ^“Valmet Automotive announces a Letter of Intent for an Assembly Contract with Fisker Automotive”(Press release). Valmet Automotive. 2008-07-15.
  30. ab“Fisker Automotive to Buy U.S. Assembly Plant to Build Affordable Plug-in Hybrid Cars” (Press release). Fisker Automotive. 2009-10-27. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  31. ^“Fisker Automotive Poised to Take Over GM Plant in Newport Federal Judge OKs Sale” (Press release).State of Delaware. 2010-06-29. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  32. ab Jonathan Starkey (April 17, 2012). “Fisker plant ‘absolutely empty'”. Wilmington News Journal.
  33. ab Angela Greiling Keane; Jef Feeley (February 10, 2012). “Fisker Stops Work on Car Factory After U.S. Blocks Loan”. Bloomberg Businessweek.
  34. ^ Devereux, Pat. “Top Gear meets Leonardo DiCaprio”. © BBC Worldwide Ltd.. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
  35. ^“Amid Setbacks, Fisker Automotive Closes On $392M In New Financing”. Venture Capital Dispatch (Wall Street Journal Blogs). April 2, 2012.
  36. ^ St. John, Jeff (April 2, 2012).”Fisker Raises $392M, Ups Goal to $500M”. greentechmedia.
  37. ^ Joseph Szczesny (2009-05-13).”Fisker CEO has plans for smaller electric car in 2010 Published: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 JOSEPH SZCZESNY”. The Oakland Press. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  38. ^ Soyoung Kim (2009-09-16).”Fisker Automotive targets 2011 profit”. Reuters. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  39. ab“Department of Energy – ATVM Loan Program”. U.S. Department of Energy. Retrieved 2009-10-25.
  40. ^ Mitchell, Josh; Power, Stephen (2009-09-25). “Gore-Backed Car Firm Gets Large U.S. Loan”. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2010-02-17.
  41. ^“US Energy Secretary Chu Announces $528 Million Loan for Advanced Vehicle Technology for Fisker Automotive” (Press release). United States Department of Energy. 2009-09-22. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  42. ^“Department of Energy — ATVM Loan Program”. U.S. Department of Energy. Retrieved 2012-03-22.
  43. ^ Mark Clothier; Jeffrey McCracken; Angela Greiling Keane (April 23, 2012). “U.S. Said to Hire Restructuring Adviser to Monitor Fisker”. Bloomberg.
  44. ab Jonathan Starkey (April 20, 2012). “Gingrich blames VP Biden for Fisker stall”. Delaware Online.
  45. ^ Migliore, Greg (2008-04-16).”Tesla sues Fisker, alleges theft of trade secrets”. AutoWeek: News & Views. Retrieved 2008-04-16.
  46. ^ LaMonica, Martin (11 April 2008).”Tesla Motors loses trade secrets case against Fisker”. CNET News. Retrieved 2009-06-29.
  47. ^“ARBITRATOR FIRM EARLIER FINDING IN FAVOR OF FISKER AND AWARDS FISKER $1,144,385” (PDF). Fisker Automotive. 11 December 2008. Retrieved 2009-09-14.

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