Karma Automotive has had quite the difficult birth and believe me that saying that is an understatement. Formed out of the ashes of the failed experiment that was the Fisker Karma, Karma Automotive has been trying its best to not only keep Henrik Fisker's visually stunning design in production but also move forward as best it can as a relatively new automotive start-up. The company's been pretty quiet lately (although it did gain a celebrity customer earlier in the year in the form of Gary Numan, a known car guy whose car history is definitely something worth writing about), but that has all changed thanks to the LA Auto Show, where they debuted a brand new production car (the Karma Revero GTS) and the SC2, a new concept car that quite honestly looks like something straight out of a video game.
This isn't without controversy, however. It's known that the company recently had a huge layoff in which close to 100 staff lost their jobs. Karma's parent company Wanxiang Group has also reportedly cut back funding and CTO Bob Kruse departed from his position. There's also been rumours that Karma loses $50k on every Karma Revero it sells. All these may be typical startup troubles that have been experience by other fledgling automotive efforts like Byton, NIO and even Tesla in the early days. The EV market has proven difficult to make a profit in - even General Motors is struggling with their electric options! Still, it's not a promising sign about whether Karma Automotive is going to stay afloat.
There's also the elephant in the room of THAT safety recall. Some of you may remember that Karma Automotive put a hold on production of the Revero earlier in the year and recalled every single car due to a fault with the car's rollover sensors. In an absolutely stunning piece of manufacturing negligence, it had been discovered that the rollover sensors that were supposed to activate the curtain airbags had never even been enabled in the first place. It doesn't take a genius to understand what implications this has for Karma Automotive. How can you trust a manufacturer to make you a good quality luxury car when such glaringly obvious things like that slip through the net? It's a very scary question indeed and it's something that Karma Automotive are really going to have to put a lot of effort into putting right if they want to save themselves as a company.
Will Karma Automotive stay alive? I absolutely hope so. They're a company that isn't even the slightest bit conservative on the design of their cars and that's something that should be being celebrated right now. They're also a company that have managed to save one of the coolest car designs in history, that of the doomed Fisker Karma, back from the brink of death and that's an incredible achievement. Yes, there have been many horrors, including that disastrous recall. But the main thing is that they managed to save a classic Henrik Fisker design. It is flawed, perhaps even horribly so, but it's worth saving.
Whilst they may be suffering from many troubles that plague startups, it has to be remembered that Tesla had those issues too at first. Tesla is now a multi-billion dollar company that trades publicly on the stock exchange and is now in the serious stages of planning an investment into its first factory in Europe in Germany! With this in mind, even though Tesla is still in some serious financial worries, there is every chance that Karma Automotive may survive its current troubles and become a financially stable enterprise.