Fisker Automotive will attempt to make good on its goal of restarting Karma production within the next year, and reportedly plans to reintroduce the Fisker Karma in 2015. The Orange County Register reports that Fisker, following its bankruptcy and subsequent acquisition by Chinese parts company Wanxiang, will look to follow the Karma with a station wagon variant called the Surf in 2016 (previously shown at the 2011 Frankfurt auto show). A higher-volume, mid-size Atlantic (introduced at the 2012 New York auto show) could arrive in 2017.
The Fisker Karma luxury plug-in hybrid was plagued by reliability issues and mismanagement, which will have to change if the company has any hope of repositioning itself in the automotive marketplace. There are still a lot of question marks floating around about Fisker’s future, including what the company will even be called.
“We don’t know if we would keep Fisker Automotive as the company (name),” Fisker president Roger Brown told the Orange County Register. “The cars are the rock stars.”
The original Fisker Karma was built in Finland, even though the company was based in California, but it remains unclear where the “new” Fisker will build the forthcoming Karma, Surf, and Atlantic. Previous reports suggested that Fisker intends to restart manufacturing at its Finnish plant, but faces obstacles as far as starting production at the former General Motors factory the company owns in Delaware. The Delaware factory was originally slotted to build the mid-size hybrid Atlantic sedan. There is also a potential production partner somewhere in Michigan, as well as China.
Brown, who now manages a team of roughly 25 employees and hopes to find a permanent CEO within the next three months, is confident that Fisker will take the necessary steps to rejuvenate the brand. “Wanxiang is not flashy,” he said to the Orange County Register. “They bought this company, they paid cash for it, they don’t put any debt on their company and they execute. They didn’t buy the company to export the technology to China.”
Henrik Fisker, the company’s namesake designer, resigned a month before 75 percent of Fisker’s U.S. employees were laid off in April of 2013. Struggling sales meant that Fisker couldn’t repay its loans from the U.S. Department of Energy, and the company subsequently entered bankruptcy last November. Wanxiang acquired Fisker’s assets for $149.2 million in early February 2014.