Fisker Automotive names veteran industry leader Tom LaSorda as CEO

Article by Christian A., on February 29, 2012

Fisker Automotive has named veteran industry leader Tom LaSorda as chief executive officer. LaSorda has been the automaker's vice chairman since he was appointed late last year. Moreover, he was a former CEO at Chrysler. The manufacturer of electric vehicles has been struggling to find its next round of funding.

The company also named its co-founder and CEO Henrik Fisker as the executive chairman. Fisker related that his new role will involve building the brand as well as creating brand awareness, design and styling and future vision of the company.

Despite the launch of its $103,000 Karma extended-range hybrid automobile, the automaker has lately missed milestones in collecting its next round of funding from the U.S. Department of Energy. It has halted the development of its lower-priced Project Nina. On the other hand, LaSorda is positive that the automaker will be profitable by next year with the Karma sales alone.

He added that the disclosure would hopefully be sufficient to prompt the next round of funding whether from the DOE or other sources. In addition, LaSorda hinted at the prospect of creating an alliance with another vehicle manufacturer, stating that the company will be "open" to the idea if any automaker will call.

He clarified that they are not "out in the marketplace pushing that." Through the company's Valmet Automotive assembly factory in Finland, Fisker has manufactured around 2,000 Karma units. Around 840 units have been delivered to Canadian and U.S. dealers. Last week, the dealers in Europe began receiving the Karma units.

LaSorda stated that he cannot say when the production for Project Nina would start and what the happenings are in Wilmington. Henrik Fisker disclosed late last year the prototype production at Wilmington would commence during the second half this year. LaSorda has 32 years of experience in the vehicle business.

He was working for General Motors, rising through various manufacturing ranks, prior to his appointment as head of manufacturing at Chrysler in 2000. In 2004, he was Chrysler's COO and from 2005 to 2007, he was CEO. LaSorda mentioned in a conference call that he was "quite impressed by the passion here and the brand itself." He also stated that he is "personally invested in the company" to demonstrate the confidence he has in the company and the team.

When California-based Fisker Automotive first unveiled the Fisker Karma as a concept car, it introduced two important facts. The first is that it was considered by many as the first Electric Vehicle that offered extended range or EVer. Second, it revealed the possibilities being offered by the automotive industry. Karma is a Hindi word that loosely translates to rewarding good deeds.

Through the Fisker Karma, drivers will not only be able to drive a car that delivers performance and shows style, it is also one that is friendly to the environment as both fuel consumption and emissions are the best even when compared to many of the present day luxury vehicles. Using the same platform that created the military’s stealth vehicle, the brand came up with the EVer powertrain and even patented it.

The powertrain makes use of the rechargeable lithium-ion battery that allows the car to go as far as 50 miles (80 km). Should the energy be depleted, the power that supplies the 175-kW generator is now sourced from the turbocharged direct-injection 2.0-liter gas engine. Through this engine, the Karma can go for an extra 250 miles (403 km). Thus when the two are combined, the total range between refuel and recharge is around 300 miles.

Through this engine, the Karma can go from 0 to 60 mph in merely 5.9 seconds. Even with this performance, fuel consumption is at 100 mpg with CO2 emissions at 83 g/km. The zero emissions and low fuel consumption when coupled with the stylish style plus the four-door and four-seat configuration best exemplify the Uncompromised Responsible Luxury vehicle principle of the brand that aims to offer Pure Driving Passion.

After it was first unveiled and until the release, the Karma managed to set new standards when it came to time-to-market. In addition, it also resulted in the creation of the Premium Luxury Electric Vehicle class.

Topics: fisker, ceo

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