Under The Gun: Fisker Karma Production Was Delayed By Strike At Valmet

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
under the gun fisker karma production was delayed by strike at valmet

From our source “JH” comes a curious tale, and one perhaps completely un-reported in the US auto media: Fisker’s controversial, possibly US-funded Karma assembly center had ground to a halt, with “about 400” uncompleted Karmas sitting outside. It turns out that the UAW isn’t the only group of union workers out there who are willing to strike. Were they killing the golden goose, or just asking for a fair share of the egg?

This report of a 32,000-person strike led by two metalworkers’ unions contains one entry of interest to American automotive enthusiasts: Valmet Automotive. This company, once famed for producing perhaps the nicest-quality AKM assault rifle clone on the planet, (Yes, yes, some of you enjoy the Egyptian MAK, you’re wrong, hush up now) had been repurposed at the end of the Cold War for automobile assembly. If you own a Porsche Boxster:

  • I feel your pain. I really do. I have one, too. It’s like watching a toaster for the bread to pop up, except the “toaster” is a $61,400 vehicle with a hilariously-short warranty and the “bread” is a $12,500 engine failure.
  • It might have been assembled in Finland by Valmet! OMFG! It turns out that the magical excellence-producing gnomes of Zuffenhausen didn’t all hold a pagan seance around your car at the end of the [s]roboticized assembly line[/s] craftman’s shop after all! (If the 11th digit of your Boxster VIN is a “U”, congratulations! You’re Finnish. If it’s an “S”, you’re German. If the VIN begins with “W09”, you own a Ruf. That’s awesome.)

Porsche’s Valmet adventure is over, a casualty of lower sports-car demand around the globe, but for the nice people at Fisker, it has just begun. The infamous “overseas assembly plant” discussed in many a blog post these past few weeks was formerly the Valmet Automotive facility. The employees are mostly unionized former Valmet peeps. And they have been striking since the 21st.

The heart of the issue?

The major discord was over a 4.3% wage increase for two years, an amount Finnish social partners agreed to on 13 October. Metal and technical employers, under the auspices of the Federation of Finnish Technology Industries, or Teknologiateollisuus, sought to structure that pay rise whereby many metalworkers and white-collar workers would not get the full amount. The new proposal given by Lonka last night, 23 October, proposes that it be granted across the board to all 200,000 workers in the country’s metal and engineering sector.

I’m not sure what a “Finnish social partner” is, but I’m pretty sure that it would warm the cockles of Murilee Martin’s socialist heart.

Our inside sources say that the strike is effectively completed and that Karma production will resume ASAP. It was a minor blip that future Karma owners won’t ever notice or think about… but it does remind all of us here in the North American autoblogging world of one thing: Just because we hear all the details of “American” manufacturers’ woes in the Wall Street Journal doesn’t meant that we’re getting the full story about what happens elsewhere. This would have been a front-page story if the Fisker plant had been in the United States. Sometimes, the “known unknowns” are really unknown. Or something like that.

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  • Buickman Buickman on Oct 25, 2011

    www.thetruthaboutguns.com say hello to Robert while you're there.

  • Robert Schwartz Robert Schwartz on Oct 25, 2011

    “Finnish social partner” I see a tall blond girl, slender but very well muscled, She has dark blue eyes. You are sitting in a sauna trading shots of Finlandia.

  • Sgeffe Why on Earth can’t you just get the torque specs and do it yourself if you’re so-inclined?!
  • Sgeffe As was stated in another comment, the FAA nominee went down in flames. But the NTSB chairwoman certainly didn’t, and she’s certainly not qualified either!Lots of this kind of stuff going on both sides of the aisle—Ben Carson would have arguably made a better Surgeon General than HUD Secretary under Trump, for example.
  • Art Vandelay Interesting, the Polestar 2 I had as a rental utilized Android Automotive which is what GM said it is going to exclusively, yet it still offers Apple CarPlay according to this. Wonder if GM will do the same.
  • Stuart de Baker EVs just aren't ready for prime time for those with a single car and who take road trips. Being able to charge as soon as you arrive at a charging station, and even the chargers working on your car is a crapshoot. In the former case, you could have to wait for nearly an hour while someone else is charging.I also don't find EVs particularly fun to drive (I've driven a Tesla Model S and an Ionic 5.) I LOVE driving my '08 Civic (stick). I love the handling, the feel and responsiveness of the engine, the precise steering (the Michelin Pilot Ultra Sport tires help, but even with the snows on, the car is a joy). I have 152k on the clock, and hopefully another 25 years or so of driving (I was born early in the Eisenhower Administration and I have exceptionally healthy habits), and I'm going to try to keep the Civic for the duration.My Civic causes a less global warming emissions than some of these humongous battery operated trucks.
  • FreedMike They should throw in a Lordstown pickup with every purchase. Make it the “vapor twofer.”