Now Owned by Chinese firm Wanxiang, Fisker Automotive Returns

By:   Christian Okolski

As the emerging electric vehicle market continues to grow and automakers continue to release new models, an old EV maker is trying to make a comeback.  After announcing its bankruptcy last fall, Fisker Automotive has been revived and is now owned by a Chinese company called Wanxiang Group Corp.  The EV maker even has a new website! In a recent Bloomberg article, it has been reported that Fisker will resume production and sales of the Karma, a luxury performance plug-in hybrid, in an attempt to compete with Tesla and its Model S.

Although the company’s passionate and outspoken founder, Henrik Fisker, was ousted from power last year, before the Wanxiang acquisition, Fisker is now under the leadership of yet another highly passionate individual.  Lu Guanqiu is the billionaire Chairman of Wanxiang Group, and in his exclusive interview with Bloomberg stated that he will “put every cent that Wanxiang earns into making electric vehicles”.  He even went so far to say “I’ll burn as much cash as it takes to succeed, or until Wanxiang goes bust.”

Mr. Guanqiu is clearly on a mission to make Fisker the success that it had hopes of being before its bankruptcy.  However, while the Fisker Karma has received much acclaim for its exterior design, technical issues and even battery fires prevented it from ever reaching Tesla Model S status.  Not even a $192 million loan from the U.S. government was enough to save the automaker and its well-publicized Karma.  After buying the automaker for almost $150 million though, Mr. Guanqiu seems confident that he will be able to make “The New Fisker” a success.

With some technical fixes it is not inconceivable that the Karma and future Fisker models may find the same success that Tesla has achieved since launching the Model S.  After all, the Karma fits into the same vehicle segment as the Model S as a performance and luxury car.  Moreover, Fisker is eying the rapidly expanding Chinese auto market as a great opportunity that can complement and possibly exceed U.S. sales.  First thing is first though, and the re-released Karma needs to actually start being sold again, before its resurgence can be measured.  In due time, we will see if “The new Fisker” will be the hit that Mr. Guanqiu needs it to be.

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