Fisker Automotive, the controversial maker of the Karma plug-in hybrid luxury sedan, has hired former General Motors marketing executive Joel Ewanick as its interim chief marketing officer. Ewanick comes to Fisker with his own controversial history, looking to wipe his personal slate clean after a tumultuous time at his last automaker.
Fisker is in the midst of getting development finished up on its Atlantic compact sedan, which is expected to start production in 2014 for the 2015 model year. As reported by Automotive News, the automaker is currently getting ready to open up a research and development facility in the Midwest. Ewanick should help stabilize the company’s brand-building operations after facing a rough political season under attack from presidential candidate Mitt Romney for being a “loser” under President Barack Obama’s Department of Energy federal loan program. However, while fighting that uphill battle, Fisker has managed to sell upwards of 1,500 of its $100,000 Karma sedans so far.
Ewanick comes to Fisker as a former consultant to the automaker. Before that, he was removed from General Motors for combining multiple allotted budgets into one to get enough money together to sponsor the U.K.’s Manchester United soccer team. But, then, Ewanick has always seemed to be somewhat of a non-conformist in the staunchly conservative automotive industry. Before GM, he worked at Nissan for a mere six weeks. And before that, he was one of the chief proponents of the Hyundai Assurance program, which led to a massive rise in the Korean automaker’s sales during the height of the recession.
Ewanick joins former GM engineer Tony Posawatz in an all-star cast of executives who formerly worked at other giant automakers at Fisker. Posawatz, who now heads up the automaker as its CEO, was one of the lead engineers on the Chevrolet Volt. That’s perhaps the sort of company Fisker needs to align itself with as it moves forward, as its technology is similar to Fisker’s without as much of the spotty reliability history Fisker has endured thus far.
Several widespread instances of car fires have occurred with Karmas, most recently including an incident at the Port of Newark during Hurricane Sandy that destroyed 16 cars.
That is to say, Mr. Ewanick, welcome to Fisker. You’ve got your work cut out for you.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)