Since Fisker Automotive rolled the Karma, a four-door luxury plug-in hybrid sedan with a price tag of $103,000, off of the production line in December, the California-based company has been plagued with problems. At the end of December, Fisker issued a recall because of a battery pack coolant leak that could have caused the Karma to short-circuit. A few weeks later, Fisker issued another recall for the sedan because of a software problem. A few months later, in February, Fisker announced that it is renegotiating some terms of the Department of Energy (DOE) agreement for the $336 million balance on its $529 million loan. A month later, the Karma died during a Consumer Reports test. Later in March, Fisker announced that it will replace the batteries in the Karma after the manufacturer A123 admitted there is a glitch.
Things are finally looking up for Fisker and its luxury sedan. Fisker recently announced that during the first four months of the year, it made over $100 million. The company also delivered 1,000 Karmas to in the U.S. and Europe since December. Business Green reports that Fisker hopes to sell 4,000 by the end of the year.
In The Netherlands the Karma ranked second in sales volume among four-door luxury sedans from January to April. In the beginning of May, Fisker announced that it had surpassed BMW, Mercedes and Audi to become the second-highest selling brand for high-end four-door models in the first quarter of this year. Since the Karma’s launch in December, it out-sold the BMW 7-series, Mercedes S-class and Audi A8 in The Netherlands from January to April. This is “thought to be the first time that an ultra-low emission hybrid car has outsold combustion engine rivals,” the company said in a statement.
Given its success in The Netherlands, Fisker plans to expand into the Middle East, and signed a deal with a distributer that will sell the Karma in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and Egypt.
Fisker raised $174 million worth of private financing this year, which brings it total financing since its founding in 2007 to $1 billion. “We are encouraged by solid demand for the Karma, our unique extended-range luxury model,” Fisker CEO Tom LaSorda said. “Pending completion of investment sourcing, we are poised to press ahead with further market expansion and development of our higher volume model, the Fisker Atlantic.”
There is more good news. Fisker received two awards for the Karma: A first prize in the International Design Awards (IDA) competition and a silver trophy for innovation at the Edison Awards.
Photo: Flickr User, Fisker Auto