The State of the Fisker Karma

The State of the Fisker Karma

The Fisker Karma, the latest in plug-in hybrid luxury sedans, has faced a blizzard of negative press lately because of a teensy mention in Consumer Reports that set off a national furor. The report told readers how a model purchased for review had died and was subsequently towed back to the dealer. While it isn’t unusual for new cars to experience issues, other reports suggest that Fisker delivered the Karma too early in order to meet the deadlines required by the Department of Energy loan program. Any problems that developed, therefore, were probably overlooked as Fisker rushed to meet the deadline.

Anonymous sources who have worked for Fisker before recently reported that it was not unheard of for this particular brand of vehicle to be shipped to customers with technical problems, and that the Karma was indeed rushed into production before all the kinks were ironed out.

Fisker has seen other problems as of late. Delays caused the Department of Energy to freeze Fisker’s loans, and an issue erupted with A123 Systems, the company that supplies Fisker their batteries, because the car manufacturer did not purchase batteries at the expected rate. Pressures such as these undoubtedly exerted significant influence while the brains at Fisker worked overtime trying to decide on a viable solution. Releasing the Karma early – perhaps, as Consumer Reports suggests, too early – seems to have been that solution.

Future customers must ask themselves if the Karma is a lemon, and if Fisker themselves might be headed in the direction of bankruptcy. On the other hand, perhaps the flaws are fixable, and Fisker is hard at work on permanent solutions for them now.

In December flaws were discovered in battery packs produced by A123 Systems. Fisker should be commended for uncovering the error before something more tragic, like a car fire, demonstrated the issues for them. And Consumer Reports has now written that their Karma was returned with a new battery pack: problem solved? Again, it isn’t unusual for cars, even those from big name manufacturers, to have problems upon their initial release.

Though the Karma may be a lemon, it’s equally possible that this first failure is just a fluke. If Fisker is to succeed in business, they must consider the fact that looks alone aren’t enough to guarantee future sales. There must be enough buyers willing to pay luxury prices for a vehicle like the Karma. Fisker must also consider their investors, and the ways in which they raise private capital. And though they have been fundraising, recent incidents have caused the company’s image to become a laughingstock in many ways that could inhibit their cash flow.

Will Fisker continue to suffer under the shadow of online doubts? Does the Karma have other problems that have yet to develop? What are its other computer flaws, and was it built with proper shocks — not truck shock absorbers? These questions continue to develop as Fisker faces doubts from consumers that the manufacturer has what it takes to keep its own engine running. If you are at all interested in purchasing a vehicle from Fisker, now is the time to take stock and evaluate. Are you bringing home negative Karma instead?

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