Saturday, April 06, 2013

Fisker Automotive, the DeLorean of the Green Car Era

Fisker Automotive is probably out of gas, even though its cars aren't supposed to use much gas.  It laid off almost all of its workforce except for a skeleton crew of office staff who will try to sell the company or wind it down in bankruptcy.  What went wrong with this company?

The Fisker Karma is a nice-looking sports car, but just try fitting inside.  The EPA rates it as a subcompact because the interior is so small.  I've never heard of a car marketed as a luxury sedan that was actually determined to be a subcompact according to its structure.  Oh, let's not forget that the first ones out the door were recalled due to a risk of battery fire.  The battery maker, A123 Systems, went bankrupt in 2012 and was bought by a Chinese company.  The car broke down on Consumer Reports' track before it even got started with a road test, earning it a failing grade.  The thousands of suckers who pre-ordered a Karma will probably never get one; I wonder if they had to pay cash up front.

This reminds me a little of the infamous DeLorean Motor Company from the 1980s.  Its singular product, the DMC-12, was as overpriced and unimpressive as the Fisker Karma.  The DeLorean legacy only exists today as a spare parts repository and kit car builder for a handful of enthusiasts.  Fisker fans can hope for a better outcome, but hope is not a method.  The federal government may end up owning Fisker's assets if it can't repay a DOE loan.  Good luck getting those parts and tools out of a government warehouse.  I have an image in my head of the last scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark, where the U.S. government sticks the Ark of the Covenant into a warehouse where it is presumably lost forever.  That Ark was really a superpowered energy source that destroyed whoever tried to use it.  Well, the Fisker line of cars was supposed to be pretty powerful but the business ended up destroying a lot of capital.  Thus ends my convoluted analysis for today.  I hope you were entertained, but hope is not a method.

Full disclosure:  I do not own any Fisker products, nor did I ever consider buying such a car.  I drive a gas-guzzling Ford Mustang that hums better than any wimpy electric car.