Fisker Karma dies during Consumer Reports speed testing

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 8, 2012

Fisker Automotive’s problems appear to be far from over and its image suffers another blow after the Karma unit that Consumer Reports had been speed testing suddenly died for undetermined reasons. The luxury car, which costs more than $100,000, died after being driven just 180 miles.

In a Reuters interview, David Champion, senior director for the magazine's automotive test center, said that for this to happen is a “little disconcerting.” Fisker had found itself in the news when a Karma was handed to actor Leonardo DiCaprio last summer and earlier this month, singer Justin Bieber got one as a gift.

The automaker has already issued the recall of certain Karmas. Fisker’s CEO has been changed. Its production was also stopped last month as it aims to renegotiate the terms of a $529 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Fisker has yet to comment on this report. Champion said that the magazine anonymously buys the car it wants to test. In January, Karma sales were halted in January for a four-day period to repair a software malfunction that had triggered warning lights while temporarily freezing navigation systems.

Last December, Fisker recalled 239 Karmas because of a possible defect in batteries built by supplier A123 Systems. The problem may result to a coolant fluid leak and electrical short circuit.

Last month, A123 cut its full-year revenue outlook after Fisker cut orders without warning. Consumer Reports had bought this car last Friday from a Connecticut dealer. Last Wednesday, Consumer Reports engineers had been hoping to calibrate the Karma's speed by driving 65 miles per hour down the magazine's test track in East Haddam, Conn.

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