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Electric Vehicles Research
Posted on June 1, 2012 by  & 

Fisker fights back

Fisker launched its hybrid sports car very late and its battery supplier A123 Systems has had quality problems necessitating an expensive major recall in stark contrast to the professionalism at Tesla, the pioneer in successful electric sports cars (though Tesla did recall 439 of its electric sports cars because of a possible fire hazard involving the 12-volt electrical system in 2010). An earlier Fisker recall this year concerned a software malfunction that affected its entertainment and navigation systems.
Fisker, making a hybrid, not a pure electric vehicle like Tesla, had its government funding stopped because of failure to meet production targets. There has therefore been speculation in the investment community as to whether either Fisker or A123 would be long in this world.
They have been plagued by so many problems recently, ranging from causing a garage fire, to the car simply refusing to work when tested by Consumer Reports and some bad reviews pointing out that, though glamorous, the vehicle is heavier than a delivery truck, with poor conventional range.
One of the main problems faced by the Karma has definitely been the faulty A123 batteries and the improperly installed battery coolant hosing. This last problem has prompted Fisker to recall 19 additional Karsmas manufactured between September 2011 and January 2012, following an earlier recall of 239 cars suffering from the same issue.
According to Fisker, owners of the affected vehicles should not charge their car, nor should they drive it, until the problem is resolved. The manufacturer will pick up and repair the cars free of charge and then have them delivered back to their owners. However, although concerns remain about A123, with its major competition having much bigger orders and financial firepower , Fisker is fighting back.
Fisker reported automotive revenues exceeding $100 million in the first four months of 2012. The company, which began deliveries of the Fisker Karma luxury four-door electric sedan in December 2011, also revealed that it has delivered 1000 vehicles to customers in the US and Europe.
Tom LaSorda, Chief Executive Officer of Fisker Automotive, said: "Pending completion of investment sourcing, we are poised to press ahead with further market expansion and development of our higher volume model, the Fisker Atlantic."
In the first few months of 2012, Fisker continued to raise private equity investment to fund its expansion plans, securing $174 million of additional private financing since the start of the year. The latest funding has lifted the overall financing beyond $1 billion since the start of the company in 2007.
Fisker has also become the first manufacturer to launch vehicles under the Federal Government's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) program.
In the Netherlands, considered one of the most competitive markets for premium vehicles, the Karma ranked second in volume to the Porsche Panamera in the segment for four-door luxury sedans (of all powertrain types) in the January-April, 2012 period.
Success in such markets is expected to continue with further expansion into new territories, including the Middle East. Earlier this month, Fisker signed an exclusive agreement with the Al-Futtaim Group, one of the Middle East's most experienced automotive distributors, to build Fisker's sales presence in fast-growing markets for performance and luxury cars. Al-Futtaim and its network of experienced retailers will allow Fisker to reach customers in the U.A.E, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, and Egypt.
To understand the potentially good market positioning of Fisker and the questionable market positioning of A123 see the IDTechEx report, "Electric Vehicle Profitability 2012: Where, Why, What Next"
Reference: Fisker
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