By on April 5, 2013

Fisker has laid off nearly all of its rank and file employees. Reuters reports that 160 people were out of a job as of today, while 53 senior employees will stay on, apparently to help find a buyer for Fisker’s assets. Fisker is also hoping to re-negotiate a loan payment to the Department of Energy, due on April 22nd.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

53 Comments on “Fisker: How To Light $529 Million On Fire...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I feel like Fisker is almost in a TVR sort of situation. They need an optimistic buyer, but probably won’t make it.

    Also, put a normal engine in there and you’ll sell every one you can make because they’re beautiful.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Agreed. I saw a Karma in real life on the weekend and damn. The pictures don’t do it justice, and I thought it was drop dead gorgeous in the pics…

      It had a D-plate. I haven’t seen a single one with a plate indicating it was owned by the person driving it.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I have seen ONE with real plates, all black.

        • 0 avatar
          RobAllen

          There is one near my office with real plates in something between a silver and gold tone.

          • 0 avatar
            kmoney

            There are a maroon one and a silver one I often see running around in Vancouver. There is a dealership here with 13 cars in stock,seem to already be discounted from previous MSRP. Not sure what will become of them if they become part of a liquidation.

            I agree with the above,this car is even more beautiful in person. Ties Aston imho for best looking current car.

    • 0 avatar
      Thinkin...

      Exactly. With all the R&D done on the chassis and body, it seems simple enough to just reconfigure it to run on an existing petrol engine. But then again, who would such a thing? There’s no way a traditional automaker wants to add someone else’s car to their portfolio, so it would have to be a small/newcomer who could absorb the costs and sell them. At that point, even if they could sell them for $60k (very unlikely), it’s still just a sexy car with very little space inside, very poor MPG, and uncertain reliability at best – and it’ll never have performance to back up the bodystyle. Just hard to see it being competitive, let alone profitable.

      • 0 avatar
        blowfish

        I think I saw 1 in Van sitting on Clark drive & 3rd ( ?) a used car dealer there.

        I suppose is going to take a bit of teething to make this car run with a benzene engine, at the moment is a bit of all style but no substance.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Agreed LS crate engine – take out the batteries, and call it good. The car is absolutely gorgeous in person.

      Not to mention eliminating the hybrid system would lower price and improve performance. They already have an ICE under the hood and a gas tank in the thing. It wouldn’t be a stretch.

      If GM could shoehorn an LS4 into a FWD Grand Prix with minimal modification to the sheet metal, you certainly could get an engine to fit into the Fisker.

    • 0 avatar
      akitadog

      Isn’t Bob Lutz trying to do just this?

      http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/16/the-fisker-karma-with-a-v-8-courtesy-of-bob-lutz/

  • avatar
    doug

    “Fisker: How To Light $529 Million On Fire”

    I assume you’re referring to the DOE ATVM loan. Fisker only received $193M of that, so perhaps you want to amend your title.

    Fisker also got about $1.2B in private funding. So perhaps a better title would be “Fisker: How To Light $1.4 Billion On Fire”.

    • 0 avatar
      Thinkin...

      Shhh… lest the natives get restless. And definitely don’t mention that the Bush administration actually established the DOE ATVM loan program.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        It was bad when it started, and it remains bad no matter who continues it, because the badness is in the very idea itself.

        End all the subsidies.

        • 0 avatar
          CV Neuves

          Always very good to chant slogans. The state has and should have a place in the economy, especially in strategic and structural development. We shall not forget, that eg. BMW only survived in the early 1960s due to heft support of the Bavarian government. If they had not done so, the good burghers of Bavaria would have gazillions more acres of agricultural land for ploughing available.

          In the US you will find, it was very often the government’s decision where to settle new industries, create new population centres, etc.. California’s development after the gold rush is owed to it.

          If ATVM loan program is particularly good or bad is another matter. Chances are, or not, that the monies here could have been invested better. One would have to analyse that.

          • 0 avatar
            jim brewer

            Agreed. But these direct investments in end-use products always seem to end badly. No one goes to the government for financing for the good deals.

          • 0 avatar
            CarnotCycle

            I disagree about the ‘state having a place in the economy’ in a broad context, and specifically handing out loans to private companies as this program specializes in doing.

            This is especially true given the nature of products they are making: Toys for the 1%. How such ‘green’ investments yield only expensive, elitist things (if any usable product at all) without any criticism – indeed are celebrated – is a cultural dissonance I find baffling given the political origins (the left) of these ‘investments.’

            And, also, given BMW’s old-school connections with the Nazi regime and the Quandt family, it is an unfortunate (and unfortunately hilarious) example to hold up in regards to ‘state-supported’ industrial organizations. Funny!

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Nor mention that when you look at ROI on the DoE ATVM program, it has a much better success rate than your average VC or angel investor.

        • 0 avatar
          jkross22

          No kidding? What’s their success rate?

          Would love to see that data.

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            I detailed this in a prior thread:

            http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/obama-proposes-2-billion-fund-for-alternative-fuel-vehicles-no-mention-of-hydrogen/#comment-2021151

            They were planning a 12.85% default rate, and they’re not even close to that yet, and many experts predict that they won’t hit it.

            VCs usually think of themselves as successful if they have a 70% default rate (i.e. 3 in 10 investments do well).

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            Do a search – it’s been posted here and the success of DoE ATVM is public information. Failure rate is around 9% (that was before Fisker – which isn’t “failed” yet but lets face it) so the number might be higher.

            An acceptable VC failure rate is around 33%, 33% will under perform and the remaining will give a 5X to 10X ROI.

            http://www.usv.com/2007/11/failure-rates-i.php

            Here is another story showing similar failure rates:

            http://techcrunch.com/2007/11/30/vcs-whats-your-failure-rate/

            Here is the Wall Street Journal showing a higher failure/under perform rate of 75%

            http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443720204578004980476429190.html

            So – the government is dramatically outperforming the average VC or angel investor.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          Who cares? People can do whatever they want with their own money.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            I care because it provides a benchmark for success. The average VC expects a 65% to 75% failure rate. The government expected a 12% failure rate and is sitting somewhere around 9% (again, that would not count Fisker as it isn’t officially bankrupt yet – and if you’re reading this go AH-HA, no I’m not defending, I’m being 100% transparent).

            So right now the government is out-performing the average venture capitalist by oh roughly 3:1. Given that benchmark, I would say they’ve been darn selective on where to put my tax money.

            If you haven’t noticed we do have to compete – errrr – globally – and other countries throw wheelbarrows full of money at their auto industries. The bailouts aside, I would rather see investment in new technologies with a roughly 1:10 failure rate any day of the week – considering if the argument is let private enterprise do it, their success rate is about 1:3, at best.

            So if they are beating the benchmark, I’m happy. If they are beating it and stomping it into the ground, I’m even happier.

            Huh – Bush was right on this one.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            How can the government outperform a venture capitalist? The government doesn’t reap huge rewards when a company succeeds. They just get their money back with a bit of interest. VCs get equity stakes that bring them sufficient returns to make throwing away their money 3 out of 4 times a successful business plan. When the government says they expect to lose 12%, they mean they expect to lose 12% of the money in the program. When a VC says he expects to lose 75% of the time, he means he expects to make at least a 300% return on each success.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Weimer

      So, the private sector shouldn’t follow the DOE into a black hole? Good to know.

      http://moelane.com/2013/04/05/fisker-steven-chu-electric-cars/

  • avatar
    Botswana

    It shouldn’t take 53 people to sell what is left of the company. Nice way to justify continue paying yourself for tanking the company.

    Shame though. I like the concept, never really liked the looks of the cars. Actually saw a couple of them around DFW.

    • 0 avatar
      CV Neuves

      Strangely enough, people are an asset. They have knowledge. Fisker without its core people is a factory with some blue prints. Have you ever heard the term “corporate knowledge?” That’s people, that can give you an answer straight away, without having to search through endless piles of paper or gigabytes of computer files.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    “Fisker is also hoping to re-negotiate a loan payment to the Department of Energy, due on April 22nd.”

    That conversation ought to be amusing, since Fisker has no identifiable income.

    But hey, credit’s easy these days, so who cares?
    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/qe-is-not-just-a-ship-how-a-new-generation-of-sub-prime-auto-financing-could-cause-another-catastrophe/

  • avatar

    I HATED Fisker Karma the moment I actually drove one.

    I Fell in LOVE with Tesla’s Model S the moment I drove one.

    I will shed no tears for this WASTE OF SHEETMETAL.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    I believe they never produced a single vehicle in the US, although it looks like they wasted money on the old Boxwood Road Plant in Delaware, as per Joe Biden.

    Quite an accomplishment.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Things have gotten so bad that Walden bought an Escalade on Two and Half Men last night.

    Changing the drivetrain won’t fix the Karma. It was designed rather than engineered, making it a big, useless car with the interior room of a Scion TC.

    • 0 avatar
      blowfish

      useless car with the interior room of a Scion TC.

      Then u know for sure is going to be a very safe car, with so much padding inside.
      Some cars do worry me as one can see the padding thickness which is so thin, should u get hit , for sure something is going to encroach inside.

  • avatar
    George B

    I’ve seen several Fisker Karma’s in person in Texas. Two at the same parking garage at The Oasis near Austin, one at Coffee and Cars in Plano, and a couple random local street sightings. Can’t remember seeing one going highway speeds.

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    The DOE was created in 1977. I guess we didn’t have energy in the U.S. before that.

  • avatar
    86SN2001

    This is great news.

    Further proof that these electric vehicles are a farce. Long live the ICE!

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      1. The Fisker Karma is a plug-in hybrid; it has a gas tank, so I wouldn’t call it an EV just because it has an electric motor somewhere. Yes, I’m splitting hairs.

      2. Using your logic, the 1981 GM diesel is further proof that these ICE vehicles are a farce. Long live the EV!

  • avatar
    Darth Lefty

    I saw one in traffic east of Santa Ana. Good looking if nothing else.

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    I’ve spotted one twice in Houston traffic but may have been the same car as both times it was a white car .Agree with others’ comments here it is much more striking in person .

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I’m not anti EV. But I’m anti any goverement handout for any industry.

    The product obviously wasn’t be sold at a high enough profit or the company would still be around.

    The most fundamental concept of business is you need a greater return than your loss.

    Even countries have to realise this.

    • 0 avatar
      CV Neuves

      “But I’m anti any goverement handout for any industry.” Tell that to your government. In no time you will have no automotive industry anymore. Maybe, some geezer will come up with a new version of the Australian automotive masterpiece, the Goggomobil “Dart.” I no time your country will be reduced yo a quarry with some fields, that depending on draughts and floods will provide some food. In no time, Australia can dispose of unnecessary government employees, here eg., the Immigration Department. Also, it will make housing in Australia affordable again. I like these armchair wannabee economists.

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Jaeger

        An entire industry will disappear if the government isn’t constantly dumping cash into it to keep it alive?

        I think it is you who should take a refresher course in basic economics. But I guess that’s the sort of thing taught in government schools these days so we shouldn’t be surprised people have come to believe it.

        • 0 avatar
          CV Neuves

          Kevin, I trust you have not a basic clue what economics is concerned. The equivalent in the US is the defence industry – without that the US would have completely collapsed by now. I also understand, it is also the only acknowledged means of social policy left there. It is also serving as an instrument to distribute means from fiscally stronger states to weaker ones.

          This is the only real purpose of the US forking out 400 bn annually for “defence” – not because anybody would want to attack the US. Any idea, why anybody potentially would want to?

          Australia maintains a modest automotive industry instead – I suggest this is thoroughly ok.

          Your demand on me to take a “refresher course in basic (NB) economics” is just revolting. It is utmost arrogant!

          • 0 avatar
            ttacgreg

            Thank you for your posts. It is good when someone outside of the USA’s “liberal” vs “conservative” mud wrestling propaganda mind control pit that exists in our culture, can contribute some outside perspective.

          • 0 avatar
            JD23

            “Kevin, I trust you have not a basic clue what economics is concerned. The equivalent in the US is the defence industry – without that the US would have completely collapsed by now.”

            What? I don’t earn my living as an economist, but I do have a degree in economics, and your contention that some industries deserve “most favored status” in the eyes of the government is an argument favored by fascists and crony capitalists. Wealth is destroyed, not generated, when the government directs capital to inefficient industries based on a notion that certain industries are critical to the well-being of the country, regardless of their competitiveness.

            Do the people of North Korea prosper because their government has decided to devote a larger portion of its resources to the military than any other country?

          • 0 avatar

            Where money come from in US? In other countries it is traceable to real goods. E.g. in Russia any money is eventually tracked down to exporting oil, gas and other natural resources. In Germany, Japan, Korea and China – to manufacturing and export of goods. In US most manufacturing companies went bankrupt or on the way to bankruptcy. GM, Chrysler, AMC, Packard (and list gores on). Then Polaroid (now Chinese brand), Kodak (now cameras are made by Chinese company under Kodak brand), Xerox (now Fuji-Xerox based in Yokohama), Westinghouse (now Toshiba) and so on. So where money really come from?

            From my laymen perspective they come from printing press. Basically what happens – America prints money and exchanges it with the manufacturing countries like Germany, Japan, Korea, China to the real goods – something useful and enjoyable. These poor countries in return get some depreciating numbers in their bank accounts which have any value only if US agrees to take them back – no gold standard sorry. Of course it is a simplistic picture because some companies in US still innovate and get cash for that, but the ability and know-how to make useful good is lost some time ago and Universities making money by transferring knowledge to other countries and so on.

            Knowledge transfer happens in many areas. Dell transferred knowledge to Asus and now Asus is beating Dell in its own game. Further e.g. the Dell tablet – Dell only have architects and outsource all engineering to the Chinese company and tablets made by Chinese company China also. The knowledge regarding laser printers had been transferred from Xerox to Fuji and it is only the matter of time when Xerox will go bankrupt if it does not become the service company very quick. There are still some knowledgeable people in Xerox but they get older and retire and engineers were laid off long time ago and everything was outsourced to India and other countries.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    I have a solution! Fisker ought to send one to Ferdinand Piech as a gift. If he likes it, he may want to buy the company!

  • avatar
    Pebble

    Beautiful cars–the local Jaguar dealer is selling Fiskers here. Probably seen 3 or 4 on the road, plus another handful @ dealer. Still, this seems to be another Solyndra?

  • avatar
    holydonut

    Go here if you want to see a cut-away of what the Unibody and drivetrain structure of the Karma.

    http://boronextrication.com/2013/02/2012-fisker-karma-body-structure-and-battery/

    It’ll be tough to package any premium motor into the available space.

    I guess you could do a V6 up front and a flat four in back?

    Don’t know how you’d fit a transmission anywhere though.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India