If you’re Fisker Automotive, Karma really has been a…difficult process.
After launching its first car, the 2012 Fisker Karma, at the beginning of this year, the automaker has struggled with quality issues, political posturing that has shunted Department of Energy startup loans, and logistical issues of where to built its next car, the upcoming Atlantic (seen above).
To get that car produced, Fisker is now looking at raising even more money—about $150 million for the sake of argument.
Back in 2009, Fisker was awarded a $529 million U.S. government loan from the Department of Energy because it was planning to produce a “green” car. That was to be a big part of helping get a former General Motors plant in Wilmington, Delaware, up to snuff to produce its smaller second sedan. However, after not meeting some milestones with the larger Karma, half the money was withheld, leaving Fisker to start raising money on its own. That also left the Wilmington plant empty and Fisker searching for where to go next.
So far, the Fisker Automotive has raised about $1 billion from private investors and has had to contract manufacturing out to a Finnish plant that manufactured the Porsche Boxster and Cayman and is set to produce the European-market 2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class. It’s overcome challenges including recalls and bad publicity that came with a parked Fisker Karma setting itself on fire last week being caught on video. Reportedly, Fisker had the owner remove the $100,000 car’s badges after the fire was put out. An investigation is pending.
Additionally, Fisker is now on its third CEO this year after this week’s announcement that it was replacing former Chrysler exec Tom LaSorda with former Chevrolet Volt chief manager Tony Posawatz a month after he retired from General Motors. LaSorda said he had been approaching Posawatz since his departure from GM, but the timing of the announcement came coincidentally close to Fisker’s last fire debacle. The automaker’s spokespeople did not answer questions during related to the fire during the announcement.
As explained, being a new automaker isn’t easy, not in an industry so saturated and competitive. Fisker is looking at launching its next car, the Atlantic, sometime in 2014, which could come at a time when it may not be struggling so much. It’s expected that the automaker could start breaking even sometime around the end of 2013. So far, Fisker Automotive has delivered more than 1,000 of its Karma plug-in hybrid sedans.