With the recent loss of the Chevrolet Volt, the term “range-extended electric vehicle” risks going the way of the passenger pigeon, closing the door on the era in which automakers tried to lure nervous buyers into an *almost* electric car that contained a gasoline engine only for sporadic electricity generation. The Volt had this system, the BMW i3 REx still does (but not in Europe), and the glitzy Fisker Karma popularized the term among the Hollywood elite.
The Karma met a swift end, yet lives on under a slightly altered name, all thanks to Chinese dollars. A new version of the exact same car — the Revero, sold by Karma Automotive — appeared in 2016. The California-based, Wanxiang Group-owned Karma is a low-production automaker, flinging out a few hundred examples of the Revero each year for the tidy sum of $130,000. The current car kept its GM-sourced 2.0-liter four-cylinder generator, which feeds two powerful rear-mounted electric motors. Combined power is 403 horsepower and a stump-pulling 981 lb-ft of torque.
As it prepares to debut a revamped Revero at Auto Shanghai 2019, Karma has detailed some changes to its ultra-lux green car. For starters, GM got the boot in favor of BMW.
Whenever you hear the words online reputation management, two underhanded marketing activities should immediately come to mind.
The first: fake reviews. There are agencies that exist solely to place fake reviews on sites like Yelp, DealerRater, and Google Reviews to increase a business’s overall rating. For a great example of this, see Bark M.’s piece on Orlando Kia West.
The second reputation management tactic is to, again, hire an agency to place comments from fake readers in article comments that cover topics related to a particular business.
It’s this second tactic we are going to discuss today.
Fisker is no stranger to controversy and bad press. However, much of the automotive press is more than willing — more than happy, even — to give Henrik and his new company a “get out of jail free” card as it covers the new Fisker Inc. Yet, a small subset of the media exists to find the real story behind the press release and we’re more than willing to offer up the bad news with the good.
Fisker or another actor (who we’ll get to in a moment) is trying to make those professional opinions irrelevant by any means necessary. And they’re using — wait for it — an Indian online reputation management company to lift its own corporate profile and wage a proxy war against Karma Automotive, the same company Henrik founded as Fisker Automotive in 2007.
Everyone needs an SUV. That’s the mantra in today’s automotive market, and it’s not solely applicable to consumers.
Jaguar, an automaker that’s traditionally sold sedans and grand touring coupes, has seen its sales skyrocket atop an F-Pace emblazoned missile. Also from England, the Bentley Bentayga sports a fascia only a mother could love. Yet, it seems Bentley has found a number of maternal mothers with deep, offshore bank accounts more than willing to adopt Crewe’s latest offspring, resulting in 56 percent of Bentley’s total U.S. sales coming from its new SUV in August, the Bentayga’s first month on sale.
But those are established, luxury automakers. Surely, a small, single-model automaker can buck the SUV trend if its plan is to offer a limited number of models.
Or maybe it’s more important that it offers an SUV to its deep-pocketed clientele.
Just a few short moments ago, I was converted.
No, not by electric drivetrains or other alternative sources of transportation fairy dust.
I was converted by the four men in charge of the Fisker Karma’s resurrection — now called the Karma Revero — into believing the company’s viability as a future going concern.
Rising like the Phoenix from the ashes of bankruptcy, the Fisker Karma has been reborn as the Karma Revero.
Karma Automotive, the company created by China’s Wanxiang Group after buying Fisker Automotive’s assets, just released images and video of the sort-of new Revero. The lightly refreshed plug-in hybrid luxury sedan has all the style of its short-lived predecessor, with an added bonus: reliability (or so the company hopes).
It’s been a long wait since Henrik Fisker’s brainchild floated — bloated and belly-first — to the surface of the automotive pool, but we’re told a new plug-in hybrid statusmobile is on the way. That means new jobs coming to the Detroit area for as long as Henrik can keep the money rolling.
Last week, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation pledged $450,000 in funding so that Karma Automotive LLC — formerly Fisker Automotive — can build an engineering and purchasing building in Troy. The city plans to offer additional funds to see the $3.6 million project get off the ground, where the reborn company plans to employ up to 150 people.
The company formerly known as Fisker will now be called Karma Automotive, AutoGuide reported.
The name comes from the formerly defunct automaker’s only production model, which the company says it will relaunch in 2016 from its California factory. (Will it be called the Karma Karma?) The company, which was purchased by Chinese businessman Lu Guanqiu, may be shedding its namesake and ties with former founder, designer Henrik Fisker, in an effort to disassociate itself from the former car’s famous failing.
According to the report, Karma will continue preparing its second, all-electric model, reportedly called the Atlantic. Thankfully, the company’s website (The New Fisker redirects to Karma Automotive) tells us how much thought went into its logo without mentioning much about its new cars.
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