Fisker Automotive, the upmarket plug-in hybrid automaker that hasn’t made a new vehicle since July of last year, was considered dead and buried after filing for bankruptcy and laying off the majority of its staff earlier this year. It was widely believed after all this that Fisker would go quietly into the night, taking the majority of its $529 million loan received from the Department of Energy with it. However, if former General Motors executive Bob Lutz has anything to say about it, Fisker will rise again.
Lutz and China’s Wanxiang Group, the latter of which recently purchased Fisker’s bankrupt battery maker, A123 Systems, has submitted an offer to buy the remains of Fisker is hopes of piecing it back together. Although, Fisker may feel a little different this time around, as Lutz wants to swap out the all the electric inner-workings and little four-cylinder generator engine and replace them with a 6.2-liter, supercharged V-8 engine. Yes, the same engine that powers the Chevrolet C6 Corvette ZR1.
Lutz and company aren’t the only ones interested in acquiring Fisker though. There’s at least one other known effort to try and acquire the brand, led by a group of investors in Europe and Hong Kong. This group is currently working on a deal to take on the $171 million hole that Fisker couldn’t climb out of, which, presumably would go right back into the DOE’s checking account. According to Automotive News, talks are still going on but are fragile and could be halted at any time. Even still, Lutz has made no secret that he’s a fan of the now-defunct Fisker, and recently wrote about it in a blog for Forbes.
“Let’s look at a few facts: the big Karma, designed by Henrik Fisker, is quite possibly the most beautiful four-door sedan ever,” Lutz said on Forbes.com. “The technology, similar to that of the Chevrolet Volt, was ground-breaking and soon to be adopted by many of the leading manufacturers as they seek to meet stringent CO2 and fuel economy rules.”
Lutz didn’t stop there. He continued on to say that the Fisker got those who could afford the $100,000 price tag to “[sign] up in droves.”
The move to acquire Fisker would make sense for Lutz and Wanxiang, as the Chinese group already owns the rights to produce the lithium batteries that power the Karma. VL Automotive, the company brought into this proposed deal by Lutz, showed off a vehicle that is strikingly similar to that of the Karma at this year’s North American International Auto Show, too. Known as the Destino, VL Automotive’s creation shares almost identical sheet metal crinkles to that of the Fisker Karma and, as stated above, is powered by the same engine doing duty under the hood of the ZR1.
Even if Lutz or Wanxiang take Fisker over though, they’re faced with an extremely uphill battle to keep the automaker alive. Industry analysts say that the Karma’s $100,000 price tag has been cut in half since Fisker has begun taking on water. It may be easier–and more cost effective–for Fisker to just be rolled into another brand and call it a day. Or, just let the Karma rest in peace.
What say you? Should Fisker do away with the hybrid drivetrain and let Lutz toss a Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 V-8 engine under the hood? Tell us what you would do in the comment section.