PHOTO CAPTION: Fisker Karma is assembled in Finland, but has been plagued early-on by quality issues.

Henrik Fisker Defends Firm's Electric Hybrid Strategy

Speaking to the Economic Club of Chicago during the Chicago Auto Show says that relaunch of Karma production 'soon.'

Published: 10-Feb-2013

Is Fisker Automotive on the ropes? Listening to cofounder and executive chairman Henrik Fisker speak at the Economic Club of Chicago luncheon at the Chicago Auto Show this week, you certainly wouldn't think so. In an overwhelmingly optimistic speech, Fisker described his company's ethos and plan to sell green cars around the world.

He wasn't all sunshine and rainbows, though, as he talked about his company to the assembled ECC members and media. Fisker said that the company's first (and thus far only) model, the Karma, was specifically designed to not look like any other luxury vehicle on the market. He admits this choice both limits the appeal and makes a statement, thereby attracting a specific type of buyer. "[The style] means you're going to have a smaller market, because you appeal to people who dare to be different, who dare to show that they are buying a new type of brand, a new type of technology," he said.

Whatever it looks like, Fisker believes plug-in powertrains are the right mix for today's market. A plug-in hybrid with around 50 miles of range can drive without any gas on a daily basis but still take you for long trips on the weekends, he notes. "There is not a lot of demand for pure electric cars, but I think you can see hybrids are on the rise and I think plug-in hybrids will be the next big step," he said. Since he wants Fisker to be a lifestyle brand that doesn't compete with traditional automakers, there are no plans to make a gas-powered Karma (quirky aftermarket Destino venture aside). "We want to stay in a segment where there is less competition," he said, not mentioning the upcoming Cadillac ELR.


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