How Is Fisker/Karma Still NOT The King of Luxury Market?
When Jeremy Clarkson was designing the Hammerhead Eagle i-Thrust, he chose a mustache, which made it better, so why hasn't Fisker/Karma been as lucky?
I was watching Carwow's coverage of the C8 Corvette while enjoying my lunch today when I was attacked by a YouTube Ad. This ad wasn't for the latest dating app, or Subway's new ciabatta, or the myriad local dealerships trying to get me into a car. Instead it was for this, the 2020 Karma Revero GT.
2020 Karma Revero GT / Photo Sourced from Karma New Room
The Revero GT uses a 1.5-liter three cylinder engine from BMW and is mated to a bunch of electric doodads to make 535-horsepower which is a lot. Zero to 60 happens in 4.5 seconds which is very quick, but what this essentially is, now with BMW's help, is an i8 with four-doors and styling by Rockstar Games. Honestly, someone looked at the Fisker Karma, and then looked at the GTA V equivalent, the Hijak Khamelion and then made that front fascia. They should've stuck with the first-generation looks, I personally loved that mustache.
"First-Gen" Revero I saw in Myrtle Beach before I started writing on DriveTribe / Photo By Kyle Ferlita
The styling was truly timeless, unlike so many vehicles that critics say have timeless styling. When Jeremy Clarkson was designing the Hammerhead Eagle i-Thrust, he chose a mustache for the front end, which made it better, so why hasn't Fisker/Karma been as lucky? This design has been around since 2011, and total system output was 403 horsepower. This model Revero came equipped with GM's 2.0-liter turbocharged LNF Ecotec engine, the same 2.0-liter turbo that found great success in the Pontiac Solstice GXP, Opel GT, and Chevrolet Cobalt SS.
2013 Fisker Karma S Sunset / Photo Sourced from Car and Driver
If the Revero seems to long to be stylish and sexy, then you should send some very angry letters to Karma and tell them to dig up the Sunset, the two-door convertible that was planned to launch in 2013, after the Karma's "successful takeover". The Sunset came with the same 403 horsepower as the Karma and would've become the world's first hardtop convertible that was also a plug-in hybrid.
2013 Fisker Surf Concept / Photo Sourced from Henrik Fisker
For those of you that think that a sedan and convertible aren't enough to capture the market entirely, I direct you to stare at the tall rear end of the Fisker Surf Concept. With the same powertrain as the Karma and Sunset, the Surf was designed for those hippies that were lucky enough to be millionaires. This wagon variant completed what should have been a Danish-designed, Finnish-built, American headquartered takeover of a luxury hybrid market that didn't exist.
2016 VLF Destino / Photo Sourced from Auto Express
Fisker Automotive bit the dust in 2013 after several management issues, as well as the entire European shipment of 338 Karmas being destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. After several bids, and rearrangements, Henrik Fisker was able to retain Fisker Automotive as a brand, and sold the rights to produce the Karma to the Wanxiang Group, which spawned Karma Automotive in 2014. The Karma Revero was launched in 2016.
Having effectively sold the car off to another brand, Henrik Fisker joined up with VL Automotive, a company that was founded by Bob Lutz and Gilbert Villarreal and then renamed VLF Automotive after Fisker joined the company. They took the shell of the Karma and threw out the hybrid technology and dropped in an LS9 V8 engine to create the VLF Destino. A $229,000 four-door with the heart of a C6 Corvette ZR1.
2021 Fisker SUV and Fisker E-Motion / Photo Sourced from Twitter
So where does all of this Karma nonsense leave us? With a sedan that goes by three names, but is ultimately, the same mustached sedan we met back in 2008. While Karma Automotive continues to take the Karma in a different direction, Fisker maintains that they can launch a sub $40,000 electric SUV by 2021. Only time will tell, but it is bothersome that Fisker did so poorly and I feel like it's because the universe was sort of playing against them the whole time.
The company was immediately sued by Tesla for claims that Fisker stole technology from Tesla, the Karma comes out with a six-figure price tag going into a depression, Hurricane Sandy destroys the European markets supply of Karmas, and then the company goes bankrupt, sells the rights to its only car to the Chinese, who now produce the Revero in California, and the only way Fisker could attempt to make money off of his magnificent vehicle is by teaming up with a bunch of old car guys and LS swapping his hybrid.
2019 Karma Revero / Photo Sourced from Chicago Auto Show
The Karma was and still is an incredible machine that was really down on its luck when it was in production, but with the LNF Ecotec being pretty easy to maintain, it isn't entirely ridiculous to say that its still a good car, and used models can be had for the price of a new 3-series or more hiliarious Karmas can be had for around $50,000 like this chrome one.
It's a shame when you really think about it, but I'm optimistic for Fisker, especially now that the electric car market is really kicking off. Had the market crash not happen, I think the Karma would've totally beat the Model S to the punch, and been a better electric car. The Surf and Sunset would've done decent, and I'm sure the Model X would be playing second fiddle to a lifted mustached Fisker called something interesting like Forest or Woodlands.
What do you think? Did Fisker just never get the love it needed to succeed? Or was the idea of a mustached car just too much to handle? Comment Below!