Fisker Karma Considered a Sales Success in Europe

By · August 20, 2012

Fisker Karma

According to co-founder Henrik Fisker, the plug-in hybrid Karma is well on its way to becoming one of Europe's most popular eco-friendly automobiles.

Although the success of the Fisker Karma in the United States is highly questionable, Fisker has apparently developed a vehicle that appeals to European buyers.

That would be one bit of good news for Fisker, after a string of recent bad publicity that has hit the automaker like a bag of rocks. There have been production problems, fires, and recalls. And late last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, speaking with Automobile magazine, said the Karma is “a mediocre product at a high price.”

So, co-founder Henrik Fisker really could use some good news, and he might have it. Fisker says the start-up automaker has worked hard to establish itself in European markets and is on its way to becoming one of the top newcomers in several countries.

"We were the number two selling four-door luxury car in the Netherlands in the first quarter of this year," said Fisker. "And we outsold the Maserati Quattroporte globally for the first quarter." Fisker believes that it's a "significant" development for a new American luxury car to outsell the BMW 7 series and Mercedes S class in any market.

“How many U.S. auto companies have been successful penetrating any European market? We have a couple of things working in our favor in Europe. Number one is that European consumers tend to be very environmentally aware, and the Karma offers an environmental alternative to the traditional luxury vehicles there. Number two is that Europe itself regulates and taxes CO2 emissions, and we benefit from that. The Karma can claim lower CO2 levels than a Toyota Prius, and so we end up enjoying a retail price advantage over the Mercedes S class.”

Henrik Fisker

Fisker Automotive is seeking additional funds to move forward with its development of the Fisker Atlantic. The company also changed CEOs again for the second time in five months—this time hiring Tony Posawatz, who has been leading GM's efforts on the Chevy Volt.

Perhaps the Karma won't be a sales success in the US, but it's possible—and could be the boost that Fisker needs—if its first plug-in hybrid becomes competitive in a few markets on the other side of the pond.


· Chris O (not verified) · 5 years ago

Big in Europe....only the tiny Netherlands are mentioned where Fisker managed to shift ~120 vehicles so far this year in an extremely favourable fiscal climate. Wonder what total European sales really amount to so far. Generally the European market is very critical about fit and finish, not exactly Fisker's strong suit...

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 5 years ago

Maybe the price advantage is courtesy US Taxpayers giving Fisker $$$ to upgrade his factory in Finland. I hope with all those $millions he hires one competent engineer to fix the Karma's Cogging problem at low-speeds. While he or she is at it, they can place a thermal fuse, ( hell, maybe it just needed a plain fuse) in the electric fan controller so that it stops burning down garages.

Word of the Day: Competent. So please don't hire any of GM's engineers who can't make the replacement Voltec charger cords the same length as the recalled units.

· · 5 years ago

@Bill Howland: I haven't driven one in quite a while but supposedly the software was tweaked to fix the cogging issue. Also, word on the new recall for the cooling fan is that the change replaces the fan and adds a fuse. (Yes, you'd think there would have been a fuse there in the first place...)

· · 5 years ago

It will be interresting to compare the sales of the fisler karma vs the tesla model s over the coming months.

· · 5 years ago

It's kind of hard to compare Tesla with Fisker. Tesla has the capacity to build 10's of thousands of cars per year (I've seen their factory) while Fisker seems to only be in a small production mode. Tesla already has 4 years of experience with highly reliable cars on the road while Fisker is just starting out and isn't demonstrating much quality or safety thus far.
Fisker's challenge will be to prove that they can actually make a car that will work as promised and that people will buy it.
Tesla's success today seems to be dependent on their ability to ramp up production to reliably make cheap cars (or a lot of money off of their expensive ones). They already have enough customers committed so they can afford to take their time in delivering cars until they get their factory tuned to bring the costs down and reliability up.
It will be interesting to watch these two companies over the next 2 year or so.

· Matter (not verified) · 5 years ago

Lets be careful not to mix up facts. Fisker Karma can somewhat be compared with the Tesla Roaster (also abt same price segment). Tesla sold abt 2000 over abt a 5yr period. Fisker produced YTD abt 3000 Karmas and sold abt 2400 incl. wholesale. So it is ramping up much faster than Tesla. New Tesla S can then be compared somewhat with the new Fisker Atlantic. Both companies try hard to establish itself in a very competitive car market...and both do a great job. All who have experience building businesses appreciate the complexities that come along.

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 5 years ago

@Chris T.

I test drove the Karma 2 weeks ago. I'm sure it was !! Improved !!, or !!!! New Fangled Software !!!! I don't care. While most people would say it is now good enough, (you can certainly live with it), I'm making a different point. A car that does this is being designed by incompetent people. Is that arrogant to say that? Not at all. My current Volt and Roadster don't do it, so they can't fall back on "its not technologically possible". As a matter of fact, such problems like motorboating, and cogging were always successfully addressed from the very first vacuum tube (valve for British Readers) Thyratron / Ignitron drives. Almost all recent elevators are 4 quadrant (except for some 2 quadrant OTIS's - but they work good also) drives.
Point is, Everybody Everywhere gets these things to work right. The ones I've installed and adjusted in the past work right. In all different fields (not just cars) people have solved this problem. So this is hardly blazing new ground. More like can't keep up with the Rear, very far from "leading the pack".

· rickster (not verified) · 5 years ago

a $100K+ car with about 20 electric the performance of a $20K gasoline car?....bad execution for an electric car....and already a few battery fires!.... But I have to mention...a very nice looking car....shame on those power train designers.....learn from Tesla!!!....mixing gasoline with electric double the trouble...let the Japanese solve those complicated synergies!

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