US company Fisker Automotive for us – a real curiosity. Many have never heard of the brand, and even more so did not see the hybrid premium sedan Fisker Karma on our roads. And let Fisker formally bankrupt in 2013, its history is not so long ago, there was a sharp turn, which gives hope that the brand will not only survive, but also to delight us with new models. In the meantime, let us remember where it came from the company Fisker and how she lived her short “first life.”
If you look at the list of automakers, a good half of them bears the name of its founder. And there is nothing wrong with that. Especially when the founder – a man worthy and honored. Such as Henrik Fisker. Trained as a designer in 1989, the Dane took a job at the Munich design studio BMW. Soon his efforts and talent noticed by entrusting to the appearance of the concept car Z07, and after, and the production version of the Roadster Z8 – the same one on which Pierce Brosnan as James’ Bond save the world in one of the James Bond movies (“The World Is Not Enough”).
The success of the model has led to the fact that Henrik Fisker has gone on increase, leading controlled by BMW Group DesignworksUSA, specialize in industrial design. But something in this work Dane did not like Ford or recruiters found such proposals before that Henrik could not resist, but exactly one year later, in 2001, Fisker was the chief designer of Aston Martin, then led the global design studio Ford’s Irvine, California, and even joined the board of directors of Aston Martin.
All this time, Fisker did not stop drawing. He wrote a stunningly beautiful Aston Martin DB9 and Vantage. And then, unexpectedly for many of his colleagues in 2004, Henrik leave their homes and at the same former employee of BMW and Ford, but because of the design department, German Bernhard Koehler, in January 2005, the company opens in the United States Fisker Coachbuild.
Young and ambitious, Fisker and Koehler dreamed build their own cars. Above them they joked, they did not believe, and they took, did.
The first car, carrying the name on themselves Henrik Fisker, became convertible hard top Tramonto, built on the basis of Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG. It would be too presumptuous to immediately take up the development of all components of the machine, so was based on the finished design, modified with the help of partners. As a result, in particular, the capacity of 5.5 liter V8 gasoline was adjusted to 610 liters. s., which allowed gig “shoot” from zero to 100 km / h in 3.8 seconds. Well design, of course, written by Henrik. Dane as always guessing the needs and expectations of potential clients, and therefore it is not surprising that interest in Tramonto appeared immediately. Although, in fact, of the 150 planned instances gig was actually built only 15. But each one is unique. Especially the latter, under the hood is installed at the customer’s request not V8, and V12, an outstanding 700 liters. from. power.
Whatever it was, the first success inspired the Henrik, who started working on the next model (or rather, the work on both models was carried out in parallel). This time, it was taken as a basis is another chassis – from the BMW 6-series, and the result was not a “card” and coupe, named Latigo CS. Three doors differed in some respects a specific design with a narrow optics, but the views it has consistently attracted. And the demand for it was higher than at Tramonto. In any case, the 150 planned company Fisker Coachbuild copies sold, and even prepared a restyling version of the model, with a more narrow rear lights and a very original design of the front bumper.
But all this was just a warm-up before the birth of the main models in the company’s history Fisker.
One step away from success
In 2007, Henrik Fisker founded a new company – Fisker Automotive. Only now his partner acted not only Bernhard Koehler, and the company Quantum Technologies (one of the world leaders in the creation of hybrid vehicles), as well as several private investors. This was done in order to attract additional resources and funds, including government grants for the implementation of a large-scale project to create a hybrid premium sedan. When it all came together, it was born a meaningful name Karma, and a year later at the motor show in Detroit Henrik represented the concept car, which, in his opinion, had to make a splash.
The car turned out – sight for sore eyes! And by design, and to equip all sorts of “device” and finishing leather, Alcantara and other premium materials. And technology, of course, because the driving force of Karma acts powerplant Q-Drive, consisting of a 260-strong 2-liter petrol “four” with turbocharging and direct injection, as well as two rear wheels rotating electric capacity 74 liters. The total output of the hybrid system of 408 “horses”, which provide the car accelerates from zero to 100 km / h in 5.8 seconds with a top speed of 200 km / h. Thus Karma can move using electric traction only, but power reserve in this case does not exceed 80 km. But even using the average fuel consumption of the engine per 100 kilometers is impressive – only 2.4 liters.
Among the other interesting technical features of the car it is worth noting the original design of the exhaust system – the outlets are brought out of the front wheels. According to the creators of the sedan, it has helped to optimize aerodynamics and lower vehicle weight, which is very important for a hybrid.
Henrik Fisker was confident that his company will easily cope with the production of 15 thousand Karma sedans a year, and only for business customers and does not rust. Back in 2008, before the presentation of the production version of the model, at a Dane on hand were five hundred orders. When brought before the public fully production-ready instance, Henrik proudly stated that all machines that will produce until the summer of 2010, have already been sold. But in fact the process of production at Valmet in the Finnish town of Uusikaupunki started only in early 2011, and the plans for its Fisker had to adjust. It was no longer about 15 and about 7 thousand cars a year. The company, of course, explained it is necessary to gradually increase production to ensure high quality, but in reality it was quite different.
The financial health of Fisker Automotive was not the strongest. Too much money was spent on the development and fine-tuning of Karma, the preparation of production, marketing, offices, staff salaries and so on. Debit with a credit barely converged. And then there’s, unfortunately, the company Tesla Motors filed for Fisker to court, accusing him, no less, in the theft of intellectual property. It Henrik company Elon Musk at the time entrusted to draw concept WhiteStar, which then turned into a Model S. for his work Dane got 875,000 dollars, but the result in Tesla were unhappy. Moreover, it stated that Fisker, besides that painted an ugly car, also picked up a technical secrets that are implemented in their Karma. Naturally, Henrik denied everything and later proved his innocence, but osadochek something left. For a time trial knocked him out, and not the most favorable impact on the affairs of Fisker Automotive.
Tesla, as a result, to alter the design WhiteStar (Model S) and successfully launched its electric vehicle in production, making it almost a symbol of the “green” motoring. The first copies of Fisker Karma also eventually made it to its owners, but the karma of the car at that time was considerably tainted. The project has been promising, but on the whole the reasons he failed miserably. Not helped numerous awards, nor promise to expand the range of hatchback and Surf “postcard” Sunset, no prospects of production sedan Atlantic (working title – Project Nina), which, unlike Fisker for 100 thousand dollars, had become much more affordable and Mass. It was all in vain. Administrative errors wave of negative reviews about the Karma, a problem with the traction batteries and other troubles have finished Fisker Automotive.
In total, the company produced 2,450 copies of Karma, 346 of them destroyed Hurricane Sandy.
Bankruptcy and rebirth Fisker
His example Henrik Fisker has proved that not every talented designer is able to become a successful manager. Profukali more than a billion dollars, the Dane completed his American adventure in November 2013, when Fisker Automotive, being heavily in debt, declared bankruptcy. Henrik was no longer to the child in any way. He took up tuning, designing motorcycles and attempts to introduce new business projects now in the Indian auto industry. So far, to no avail.
Fisker Automotive, meanwhile, came under the control of China’s largest supplier of automotive components group Wanxiang, to pay for it 149.2 million, ie three times more than that offered by the company Hybrid Tech Holdings Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li. Together with the intellectual property of Fisker Chinese went and former General Motors plant in Wilmington. and the company A123 Systems – provider of traction batteries for the Karma. Accordingly, it is not difficult to assume that the Wanxiang not just make all these purchases, but with a completely clear view to finish what Henrik Fisker not finish. Moreover, the Chinese are aimed not only at the resurrection of the Karma, but also on the issue of models Surf and Atlantic. And there, you never know, will reach gig Sunset. It is possible, by the way, that the light of all of them will appear under the new brand (version sounded Elux). Time will tell.
So far we only know that the Chinese 11 years rented factory in the Californian city of Mareno Valley and took the company’s partners VL Automotive, one of the founders of which is the former vice president of General Motors Bob Lutz. And this partnership is not accidental. Even in 2013 showed the public VL Automotive renamed Destino Karma sedan with 6.2-liter V8 from the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, hinting that not a single hybrid ..