Fisker Karma Production Set for March, But Customers Not Informed

By · January 18, 2011

Fisker Karma Brochure

Fisker uses provocative imagery in the brochure for the Karma plug-in hybrid.

The first deliveries of the Fisker Karma luxury plug-in were originally scheduled for 2009, and then 2010, and have now slipped to early 2011. Russell Datz, a spokesman for Fisker Automotive, confirmed in an email to PluginCars.com that “regular production will start in March with deliveries expected to begin soon after.” He added that “pinning down a specific date” for delivery would “be difficult.”

The company aims to build and sell about 15,000 Karmas in 2011.

Uncertainty about delivery dates is affecting Fisker dealerships and prospective customers. Jason Glast, a realtor and attorney in San Antonio, Tex., told PluginCars.com, “My dealer said they think my Karma will be here in April.” Glast said that Barrett Jaguar (which sells Fisker automobiles) didn’t make a firm promise for April, but only indicated that April was the timeframe it was “hearing.”

The Fisker Karma is built in Finland, so even if regular production begins in March, it will presumably take longer than one month for shipping and delivery—pushing deliveries to late spring, at the earliest.

Glast was inspired to put down a $1,000 refundable deposit last April, when Barrett Jaguar had a Karma in the showroom for a few hours. “It was gorgeous but we weren't allowed to drive it,” Glast said. “I think the Karma is one of the best looking cars I have ever seen.”

Glast has previously owned a Toyota Prius, but more recently bought a Jaguar XJL Supercharged, which he said “averages 18 mpg” and describes as “a plush land yacht.”

Beyond its beauty, the Fisker Karma appeals to Glast for professional reasons. “I have found that having a beautiful luxury vehicle is essential for my profession, selling luxury homes, because the client wants to hire someone they think is successful and perhaps even like them,” Glast said. “It's good to drive something that is different. The toughest thing in real estate is standing out in a huge crowd.”

Glast continues to wonder when he will receive the Karma, and he is concerned about the recent change in price. The price of the Karma, first announced at $80,000, has mostly recently climbed to $95,900 for EcoStandard; $103,900 for EcoSport; and $108,900 for EcoChic. See the attached order form.

“The change in price is concerning. Not just that it's more money, but the fact that I was told nothing about it until I asked my dealer about ordering the car,” Glast said.

Glast was hoping that Fisker would be able to fully explain the increase. “Is the company in trouble? Do they need more capital? Did they make a mistake in evaluating how much this car would take to make?” he wondered. “I'm not sure what it means for the future of the car and the company.” Fisker's Datz recently explained that the new price of $95,900, is within few hundred dollars of the "originally priced MSRP of $87,900," after federal tax incentives.

Comments

· · 3 years ago

At least Fisker is starting to talk about realistic prices. I could see no way a small startup could build such a revolutionary car, from the ground up and sell it under $100k. Unlike Nissan, Fisker isn't big enough to sustain a loss for decades in order get production volumes up to an affordable level.
I'm predicting they won't be making very many of the EcoStandard models for a while. Its probably just a teaser.

· Matt (not verified) · 3 years ago

''First deliveries [...] have now slipped to early 2011.'' This information has been known - and well publicized - for almost a year now. The only recent change has been from 'production starting in February/March' 2011 to 'production starting March 2011'.

But it is true that Fisker has not been communicating to its customers as it should have. Customers were not informed about the delays and the price increase, but had to read about in in the media. They need to work on that.

Still, there is now the prospect, which is getting firmer by the day, that first cars will be delivered to customers in three months time. I am a very early customer and was told by my dealer - not Fisker itself - that delivery of my car in April is now assured.

· theflew (not verified) · 3 years ago

It's funny people complain about how expensive the Volt is, but this car is just a Volt wrapped wolf's clothing. I don't think this car has $60k more worth of stuff attached to it.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

Mr. Berman should know and report that the majority of the price increase is accounted for with the solar roof now being standard, not an extra cost option as before announced price change. Many other art les have correctly reported this.

· · 3 years ago

Thanks Anon. Good point. (Is the solar roof really that expensive?)

But the fact remains that Fisker announced an entry level price that is no longer available. I don't believe it's a huge deal, considering the luxury level of the product, but plug-in fans want to see Fisker come through on its exciting plans. When they come up short, or delay, especially when its most loyal customers and dealers are not informed, it's an important shortcoming especially if it's a pattern.

@Matt - "delivery of my car in April is now assured." Great. Please keep us informed of its progress. Where are you picking it up?

· · 3 years ago

@anon,
I have 5.4 kW of PV on my roof that cost me around $30K. You couldn't even fit 5.4kW of PV onto a Fisker Karma. Therefore, this really doesn't account for the price increase except as an excuse for people who really don't understand what it costs to make something.
On the subject of people who really don't understand what it costs to make something: Clearly, the overwhelming majority of people in the world have no clue how much it costs to make things. We have been to insulated from the costs of things through the accomplishments of the industrial engineering field and their optimization of mass-production. Making a $15K automobile requires a machine (factory) that costs over $1B to build. In order to pay for this $1Bmachine, one is going to have to sell hundreds of thousands of $15K automobiles. It is going to be pretty much impossible for a small startup such as Fisker, Tesla, Coda, Commuter Cars, BYD, Phoenix, Wheego, Aptera, Think, etc to pull together this much money from the beginning. Therefore, despite how badly we want a cheap electric car, someone's going to have to pony up over $1B just to get started. I don't like that Tesla (the only successful US automotive startup in over 50 years) has to start with a high priced supercar and work down but at least that model has the potential to work. All the other startups are making great promises of $20k, $30k, or $50K cars but the numbers just don't add up so I can't see how there can be success, no matter how badly we may want it.
We also complain about Nissan and GM's pricing but, even with a lot of the factory investment already made, they are going to be eating a lot of the costs of their EVs for a long time. They are subsidizing the cars a lot more than the government is - at least for the next few years. In the long run, they will have built up and paid off the infrastructure so EVs will become profitable but this could take 5 - 10 years, assuming sales are good.
I'd like those who believe that EVs are real to do a little less whining about prices and a little more digging deeply into their pockets to do what they really feel is right. Their payback, like the auto companies, will come in a decade or so too but theirs will be because we'll have a society that isn't a slave to the dwindling supplies of oil and all of the other evils associated with oil.

· · 3 years ago

@EX-ev.
You nailed it.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

The solar roof was originally a $5,000 option. It's made by Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies. More info here http://green.autoblog.com/2010/11/21/fisker-karma-solar-roof-production-...

· · 3 years ago

Looks beautiful, solid, and the curves. And what's that with the J1772? Oh... it's a car, I see it now!

· · 3 years ago

There is something freakishly wrong with the woman's hand. I'm frightened to even look again.

· · 3 years ago

Oh my god, she does have a hand.

· · 3 years ago

I know! Look close and you'll find two of them... both equally freaky.

Apparently they'll be selling these cars in very mild climates...

· · 3 years ago

But back to the subject for just a moment...

>> Fisker's Datz recently explained that the new price of $95,900, is within few hundred dollars of the "originally priced MSRP of $87,900," after federal tax incentives.<<
This just really ticks me off. Yes sir! Just sign right here, and we'll take that tax incentive straight away so you don't have to worry about it. Here I thought the incentive was supposed to bring the cost down to make the purchase more attractive. Not be a windfall for the car maker.

Innocent me.

· Realist (not verified) · 3 years ago

Fisker is clearly a scam at this point. Just google Fisker. Lots of videos where he says the car was to be delivered in 2009. It's 2011 now and not a single new piece of information from the company. They are done. Get your money back if you can.

· Ian M. (not verified) · 3 years ago

I agree the issue isn't the price increase itself, but how it was communicated to customers. (My dealer was even somewhat evasive about it: When it came time to place my specific order, and I asked about pricing, he just told me the difference between the cost of the trim packages, but not that the car was going to cost 30% more.) It wasn't until I saw the pricing spreadsheet (and had to ask) that I became aware of the new price.

Phrasing it as "not that big a difference when you consider the tax incentives" is ludicrous, of course, since the tax incentives would have applied to the lower-priced car as well. The car basically costs a 3rd more than it was reported to cost just a few months back. (If you figure in the tax breaks before and after, the proportion actually gets bigger.) Would have been nice to get an email from the desk of Mr. Henrik Fisker stating that clearly, explaining the reasons behind it, apologizing for the inconvenience, and saying why they thought it was a good choice, would have been a much better tack. In any case hearing about it from the dealer network proactively would have made it much less of an issue. Hopefully this isn't indicative of the relationship he intends to have with his customers.

I haven't heard the delivery date from my dealer yet, though based on how this was handled, I was very close to walking away. Not based on the cost difference, based on how it was handled.

· Bravo Whiskey (not verified) · 3 years ago

Beautiful car. Sexy. Elegant. Maserati - lines.
I'd love to buy one....so I can drop a V-10 internal combustion engine in it!

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

I signed up for a Karma in 2009 and the delivery date was late 2010 but I never really believed that. Mid 2011 is about what I expected and what we are getting. Regarding the price, it was always clear to me that the $88k price was after incentives. I guess it helps to read the matial before sending in the money. The $1k deposit is fully refundable, by the way, so no one is required to buy one if they don't want to. I may stiill decide not to get one after I actually get to drive one, but at this point I am holding on to my low reservation number.

· · 3 years ago

@BW,
Why do you want to slow it down?
Oh never mind, I see now (you had me there for a minute); I guess your truck broke down and you need to pick up a new engine and other junk from the junkyard so you need your sedan to have enough torque to handle the job of keeping your ICE working :-)

· Shine (not verified) · 2 years ago

What's the difference between a plugin car and a hybrid car?

· · 2 years ago

Current hybrids (Prius, Insight, etc) only use one fuel to travel: Gasoline (or diesel overseas). Some electricity is made from that gasoline to help with certain bits of propulsion, but ultimately 100% of the energy comes from gasoline. A plug-in car has a larger battery, and can be propelled from electricity that was fed in from a source OTHER than the onboard gasoline engine. So a plug-in car can run at least partially on solar power (or some other green power, or grid power, etc) if you wish. A "standard" hybrid is all liquid fuel just used more efficienty.

Hybrid: Fill it with gas
plug-in (hybrid) fill it with gas AND electricity

A plug-in could be all electric, or hybrid-electric.

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