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.

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