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.