Not Dongfeng, but China’s Geely currently looks best positioned to profit from U.S. government largesse by buying beleaguered and DOE-funded plug-in car maker Fisker, Reuters reports. According to the report, “Zhejiang Geely Holding Group is favored to secure a majority stake in troubled U.S. electric car maker Fisker Automotive, according to two sources familiar with Fisker’s search for a strategic investor or partner.”
Also according to the report, red flags are sure to flutter over Fisker’s HQ in Anaheim, as Fisker “is currently weighing bids from two Chinese auto makers: Geely, the owner of Sweden’s Volvo, and state-owned Dongfeng Motor Group Co.”
It isn’t often one of the biggest news items coming out of NAIAS 2013 is from a tuning house … especially a tuning house nobody has ever heard of before. Attach the name Bob Lutz to a car, along with a brand new, fire breathing, tire shredding 6.2L LT1 V8 from the new Corvette, you are bound to turn some heads. Oh, and they wedged it into a Fisker Karma.
That’s Maximum to the Bob.
Fisker wanted to sell its $100,000-plus Karma plug-in hybrid in China by the end of this year. It’s not happening. Fisker “encountered a slight delay in obtaining final certification to sell cars in China” spokesman Roger Ormisher told Reuters. The company now targets “the first quarter of next year to take advantage of China’s rapidly growing market for luxury cars.” Good luck with that. (Read More…)
Fisker concluded its investigation into the fire that consumed one of their Karmas in Woodside, CA. According to a Fisker statement, neither the Lithium-ion battery pack, nor “new technology components, engine component packaging or unique exhaust routing of the Fisker Karma” were responsible for the conflagration. Rather, it was a lowly cooling fan, that, well, overheated. In the guessing game for the fire’s cause, TTAC’s independent accident investigator Ronnie Schreiber came closest when he suspected a low voltage unit.
A recall of approximately 2,400 Fisker Karma has been initiated. (Read More…)
Henry Ford was no gifted artist, yet he made a car worthy of the common man. William Durant didn’t especially like cars, but created a marketing and distribution empire that inspired us all. And while Henrik Fisker’s car-centric life isn’t fully wikipedia’d, the first creation of the company that bears his name is an object of wonder and inspiration. The Fisker Karma, like every concept from any auto show, is a dream car: flaws and compromises intact. (Read More…)
One of my Transportation Design teachers insisted that cars were just like restaurants: success depends on proportion, proportion, proportion! And while the mere thought of his lectures makes me want to vomit in terror, the dude is right: cars need to be perfectly proportioned to prove a point. And my goodness, the Fisker Karma is just that. Put another way… (Read More…)
In the ramp-up to the launch of the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, a great debate seized the engineering community: was Nissan opening itself to problems by not including a active thermal management system for the Leaf’s battery pack, or was Chevrolet’s liquid-cooled approach simply adding unnecessary complexity? Well, thus far, the verdict seems to be in Nissan’s favor. Though Leaf has been troubled by some dissatisfaction with its real-world range, the Volt has endurd the first technical semi-scandal of the plug-in era, when federal regulators found that ruptured coolant lines could cause fires. Now the liquid-cooled approach is hitting its second challenge, as Fisker’s battery supplier A123 Systems is warning in a letter [PDF] that
some of the battery packs we produce for Fisker Automotive could have a potential safety issue relating to the battery cooling system.
The Chevy Volt’s best news in ages broke yesterday when GreenCarReports, er, reported that the Fisker Karma had received EPA approval at 32 miles of EV range, and 20 MPG (combined) thereafter. Moreover, the MPGE (the “e” is for “equivalent”) rating of 52 on electric power is nearly half the Volt’s 94 MPGE rating, suggesting that the Karma is not the most efficient car even in EV mode. And, at nearly 5,600 lbs (per evo.co.uk), you don’t have to look far to find out why. But if you ask Fisker, the problem isn’t the car… the problem is those darn EPA numbers, which you should probably just ignore anyway. After all, nobody drives less efficiently than their car’s EPA numbers, right?
Hello TTAC crew!
My Mom is in need of a new car. The problem is her trade in: It is a 2002 PT Cruiser with a serious overheating problem ($1700+ quote at two reputable repair places) Now here is the problem. Do I keep my dang mouth shut when we go to the dealership and do the deal? I have a spare car that she is driving until it cools off and the overheating problem will not be noticeable at trade in.
I would never sell the car to a guy off the street without disclosing a major problem. Even to a car dealership I think I feel guilty in not disclosing it. We are not going to be financing, and will be paying cash for the car. So it is not like they can unwind the deal if they discover the problem.
Having ethical dilemma about screwing over a car dealership who exist solely to try and take as much money as they can from you in every conceivable way is weird.
Bonus question. These are the three cars we are considering Hyundai Elantra Touring, VW Jetta Wagon and Ford Focus Wagon. Any recommendations of the three or reasons to avoid them?
Thanks in advance for any help!
With the environment taking an ever-larger place in automotive advertising, it’s interesting to note that Fisker’s latest brochure puts green in its place: behind sexy. Of course these sultry images [via BusinessInsider] aren’t free from environmental overtones, featuring taglines like “designed to get you hot, not the planet,” but it’s clear that Fisker is more heavily relying on the most traditional tool in the advertising playbook. Why? For one thing, even though Fisker is delivering Karmas, the EPA has not yet certified its efficiency rating… so we don’t even know how environmentally friendly it is yet. For another the Karma’s main rival, Tesla’s forthcoming Model S, is pure electric and therefore more appealing to wealthy environmentalists. Finally, unlike environmental messaging, sex doesn’t remind people that Fisker was the beneficiary of over half a billion dollars in government loans. Plus, sex is still, well, sexy. The more things change, the more they stay the same…
Why build the sexiest-looking “green car” to date, only to advertise it using cobbled-together promo clips and a royalty-free techno beat? Other than the fact that several production delays indicate that every available dollar should go towards actually making the Karma production-ready, of course. [via Jalopnik]