Wanxiang Group Co. is hoping to roll out a second nameplate is in the works at Fisker Automotive, joining the Fisker Karma luxury plug-in hybrid in three years, according to Chairman Lu Guanqiu. The Wanxiang chairman said he hopes to launch Fisker’s second nameplate in 2017.
He did not provide details about the model. Wanxiang is currently working to revive output of the Karma at a site in Finland but is hoping it could someday build the luxury plug-in hybrid the United States.
Production of the Karma has been on hold since 2012, after it suffered from a horde of quality issues, fire incidents, recalls and a severe cash shortage – all leading to Fisker’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.
The president of Wanxiang’s unit in the United States, Pin Ni, remarked that the Karma has around 250 “bugs” that must be addressed before they could restart production. He added that ensuring that Fisker has a reliable supply of high-quality components for the Karma is vital to resuming Karma output.
“I often say that Wanxiang can afford to make cars, but Wanxiang cannot afford to make bad cars,” Ni said.
Lu recently had a U.S. tour in which the chairman held a meeting with officials and politicians in several states, including Delaware, where Fisker owns a now-closed site; Michigan, where Wanxiang-owned A123 Systems has operations; and in Washington.
Just after Wanxiang completed purchasing of Fisker, Ni said he expected a revival of Karma production within a year. Ni and Lu told reported that before Wanxiang would resume production of the Karma, it must first ensure quality.
Fisker Automotive's first car, the Karma was designed and built according to the carmaker’s Sustainable and Accountable Design philosophy.
Fisker considers the process of developing, building, marketing as well as disposing of the cars as a project that requires a lot of energy and resources. The carmaker is seeing a great opportunity to further improve this process and in turn re-imagine the world’s expectation of auto companies.
The company essentially wants to become the carmaker with the most dedication sustainability and accountability by pursuing ways to further raise efficiency and reduce environmental impact across the entire value chain.
Sales and service of the Fisker Karma and all other Fisker vehicles will be channeled through a global network of established independent dealerships -- 45 locations in the United States and a similar number in Europe.
Some sales and service channels in Europe are already decided, as to be developed and managed by reputable importers like the BD Otomotive (Istanbul, Turkey), Emil Frey Group (Zurich, Switzerland), Fisker Italia (Merano, Italy) and Nellemann (Copenhagen, Denmark). In December 2010, Fisker also inked a non-exclusive distribution deal with China Grand Automotive in Shanghai.