Selling 7000 copies of any brand new car in nine months is no easy feat regardless of manufacturer. When that car’s a near-six-figure hybrid, it’s unheard of. Your move, Fisker.
As you might expect, the size of the market for a car is inversely proportional to its price. Mercedes-Benz, by way of comparison, is on-track to sell about 8400 S-Classes this year (that’s for a full 12 months) and there are few people alive today who haven’t heard of the S-Class. Take away three months of Benz sales and Fisker thinks it can outsell the S-Class right out of the gate. That’s a pretty tall order.
It’s not just that Fisker needs to sell an all-new car from an all-new company, it needs to sell an all-new, six-figure hybrid. And it wants to sell 7000 of them in nine months. While we wouldn’t call that goal impossible, it simply hasn’t been done before. By way of comparison, let’s look at the high-price hybrids already on the market.
As noted above, the Karma would have to outsell the entire S-Class line to meet its goal. Unfortunately, Mercedes doesn’t break out S 400 Hybrid sales from the rest of the S-Class, but it doesn’t really matter. Even if the S 400 Hybrid made up half of S-Class sales (it doesn’t), that would only be 4200 sales this year. It’s a similar story with the BMW 7 Series, which is set to sell 13,200 copies this year. BMW doesn’t break out ActiveHybrid sales either, but you can bet they’re less than 50 percent of sales and thereby under Fisker’s goal. Porsche is working on its own Panamera Hybrid, but they’re on-track to sell fewer than 6000 Panameras total this year. Cadillac Escalade? The luxury brand will sell around 26,500 of those this year and reports indicate Hybrid sales have been as high as 20 percent, which would mean…5300 Hybrids.
So forget the hybrids. The Karma is an “extended-range electric vehicle,” an electric car with a backup generator, like the Chevrolet Volt. Well, at less than half the price, Chevy will be lucky if they sell more than 3500 of those this year unless production ramps up substantially (and sales follow suit). How about the Nissan Leaf then? Just 67 sold last month, on track for 800 sales this year, though Nissan says it’s going to get caught up with 20,000 pre-orders by the end of summer. Well, that’s good news, right? Maybe. Pre-ordering required a signature and $99, so it remains to be seen how many of those turn into $33,000 sales. The $109,000 Tesla Roadster, meanwhile, has sold just over 1500 copies in the three years it’s been on-sale and Tesla has only 3400 pre-orders for their Karma-rivaling Model S.
So then, Fisker is expecting to sell “at least 7000 units” of its first and only car this year, as Chief Operating Officer Bernhard Koehler told Automotive News Europe. Never mind that the company only has 3000 pre-orders for the car, or that production won’t begin until March 21 with first deliveries not taking place until June at the earliest. Or, you know, that the car starts at $96,850 and quickly options to nearly $110,000. We’re not saying it can’t be done, but we’re wishing Henrik Fisker and crew the best of luck in achieving that goal. They’re going to need it, especially if they want to follow this up by selling 15,000 Karmas in 2012.
Source: Automotive News Europe