Specialty Carmaker Fisker Reborn as Karma Automotive
Either you can’t keep a good car down, or some people just don’t know when to quit. The current owners of the Fisker Automotive and Technology Group, responsible for the short-lived Fisker Karma, announced a name and trademark change today to – perhaps appropriately enough – Karma Automotive.
Fisker Automotive was founded in 2007 by Henrik Fisker, a Danish-born auto stylist who is perhaps best known for his designs of the BMW Z8 and Aston Martin DB9, along with business partner with Bernhard Koehler to “forge a new and radical perspective on what is possible in the automotive world.”
Its one and only product was the dramatically styled $115,000 Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid sports sedan, which debuted for the 2011 model year. While it deftly combined exotic-car styling, luxury, performance and exclusivity, its fuel economy numbers were never that impressive, and one Fisker dealer we interviewed acknowledged that the few models he’d sold to well-heeled takers were based on the vehicle’s looks, and not its underlying technology. All told, just 2,000 Karmas were sold before the company went under.
Prior to that, Fisker and Koehler ran Fisker Coachbuild, a California-based “boutique” automaker that essentially customized BMW and Mercedes-Benz models for those who found the “stock” versions to be too common.
The Karma never caught on, especially with Tesla bursting onto the scene at about the same time with the far superior all-electric Model S. The company went bankrupt and its assets and trademarks were sold to the Wanxiang Group, a China-based automotive component conglomerate, with financial backing reportedly provided by Chinese billionaire Lu Guanqiu. The new company intends to bring the vehicle back to market next year, albeit at a time when cheap gas prices have all but put the kibosh on plug-in vehicles, Tesla’s overwhelming success not withstanding.
This article originally apppeared on Forbes.