Automotive blogging powerhouse, Jim Motavalli, recently had a chance to try and part the curtains over at Fisker Automotive's LA headquarters. But after his visit one thing is clear, no journalist will be allowed to drive the car, or know its vital stats until just before the car launches—which currently stands at early next year.
Fisker has obtained more than half a billion dollars in government-backed loans, hundreds of millions more in private investment, and it now owns a former GM assembly plant in Delaware. We've all seen the pre-production concept models trotted around to the various auto shows. We know the Karma will be priced at $87,900 and will qualify for the $7,500 federal tax rebate. But we know little else. All of us in the alternative vehicle blogging world have been left faced with the mystery that is Fisker.
The company has now pushed the production date for the Karma back a couple of times and, at this point has only loosely committed to a timeframe of early next year for the start of production. In the past Henrik Fisker, the company's founder, has said that they will build and sell about 15,000 Karmas in 2011 and that the cars will be profitable at that level. In Motavalli's interview with Russell Datz, Fisker's main spokesperson, those numbers were again confirmed, but Datz refused to make anything more clear.
When Motavalli asked Datz to tell him something they hadn't told anybody else, all Datz could do was confirm to Motavalli that his job was to keep the press at bay until the launch of the car, saying that the company had one shot to make a good first impression and wouldn't provide test cars until they had it right.
But that still leaves the rest of us wondering what, exactly, Fisker will be selling when it finally releases the Karma... and if it will actually figure out all the problems associated with engineering the complexity that is a plug-in hybrid vehicle.