yeah, not good for Fisker.
This can't be good.
DETROIT (Reuters) -- A $100,000-plus Fisker Automotive luxury car died during Consumer Reports speed testing for reasons that are still unknown, leaving the struggling electric car startup with another blow to its image.
"It is a little disconcerting that you pay that amount of money for a car and it lasts basically 180 miles before going wrong," David Champion, senior director for the magazine's automotive test center, told Reuters.
Fisker has benefited from the publicity generated when actor Leonardo DiCaprio was handed the first Karma last summer and pop idol Justin Bieber received one as a gift this month.
The breakdown of the Consumer Reports car is more bad news for a company that already recalled some Karmas. Fisker also has changed its CEO and halted production over the past month as it seeks to renegotiate the terms of a $529 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Champion said since the magazine buys the cars it tests anonymously the company may not know.
In a statement, Fisker said it was assessing the source of the problem that caused its Karma plug-in hybrid to fail. Fisker dispatched two engineers Wednesday night to examine the car.
"It's important to note that with more than 400 Fisker Karma sedans already on the road in the U.S., we also have many satisfied customers who are enjoying daily commutes in their cars," Fisker said in the statement.
Under the microscope
Fisker has found itself under the microscope as its woes have mounted. In January, it halted Karma sales for four days to fix a software malfunction that at times triggered warning lights while temporarily freezing navigation systems.
In December, it recalled 239 Karmas due to a possible defect in batteries made by supplier A123 Systems that could cause a coolant fluid leak and electrical short circuit. The previous month, A123 reduced its full-year revenue outlook after Fisker unexpectedly cut orders.
The magazine bought the car new from a Connecticut dealer last Friday. On Wednesday, Consumer Reports engineers were just starting to calibrate the Karma's speed by driving 65 miles per hour down the magazine's test track in East Haddam, Conn., Champion said.
"During the gentle run down the track, a light on the dashboard came on," he said.
The speed test was completed despite the light on the control panel, but after it was parked, officials were unable to get the car restarted.
Champion, who called the Karma "gorgeous looking," said problems with new technologies are not surprising.
Federal safety officials opened an investigation last November into the safety of the battery pack in General Motors Co.'s Chevrolet Volt plug-in electric car after they uncovered fire risks. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration closed its probe in January without finding any defects and expressing satisfaction with GM's remedies to better protect the lithium-ion battery pack.
Nevertheless, weak demand for the Volt led GM to announce plans to suspend production of the plug-in electric car for five weeks this spring.
Consumer Reports has tested the Volt, which scored highly on the magazine's reliability surveys, as well as Nissan Motor Co.'s all-electric Leaf, Champion said.
The magazine was testing the Karma because it was deemed a more mainstream vehicle, he said. It has not tested any cars made by Tesla Motors Inc.
"The fact that it broke is not going to affect our testing," Champion said of the Fisker Karma. "It is going to delay possibly getting our testing done if it keeps on breaking. It's just an unfortunate delay in our evaluation."
The issue also will not affect Consumer Reports' reliability rating for the car because those scores are based on feedback from owners who subscribe to the magazine, Champion said.
"It can't be helpful, but it's one of those things," Champion said of the Karma's problems. "Cars break down, but you don't expect them to break down in the fist couple of days."
1 out of just over 400 and the company thinks that's good odds? Business these days has lost the plot save for sweat-shop, child-labor Apple.
A list of mods, all cars ever owned and something cribbed from a book, song and/or movie were all just here. Sorry you missed out on my unique, snowflake-like individuality.
New cars having teething issues. I guess being around new cars for 6 years has made me jaded. FWIW, I've seen more new car issues with ICE cars than I have with our hundreds of LEAF's and Volts.
Small car companies generally suck when it comes to reliability in general, so this isn't a surprise. Boutique car manufacturers all have their issues, and plenty of them manifest when the cars are new.
Here is the actual Consumer Reports article:
While there are some teething technical issues (mostly software), Fisker engineers are working to resolve them and I have no doubts that it is only a matter of time before each issue is worked out. There are several Fisker engineers on the Fisker forums providing valuable insight.
This unfavorable PR is the last thing Fisker Automotive needs, however.
i thnk the first series is always problematic, thats why software has updates and patches too
methinks its b/c it has some weird function that could be temperamental, and a driver may not know how to use it properly
anyone who doesn't have an mk4 cupholder should know how it feels when something simple is overly complicated
between the chevy volt flaming death trap calamity, the tesla expensive paperweight publicity and consumer reports getting a buggy fisker im almost beginning to think theres some kind of conspiracy afoot.
but seriously, at least electric cars suffer from software issues rather than hardware ones. once they get all the bugs out of the early models, electric cars will be bullet proof.
Volts and Leafs aren't having a lot of issues because Nissan and GM have a lot more experience bringing new technologies to automotive market.
Previous: 91 CRX Si / 93 S-10 / 99 Neon ACR / 87 325e / 90 Accord Coupe
New start-ups usually don't have the kind of financial backing that allows them to do that much testing work on top of the R&D spending before birthing a new product. They need to answer to investors and capitalists and I think it tend to result in rushing stuff to market...
Originally Posted by Boyz in da Park
but what if i can't plug it in because i am on the other side of the country with orphans doing an orphanage production of "a christmas carol" and the power goes out on the west coast, and i didn't have it plugged in for the last 60 days?
Dear Fisker and Tesla,
In light of your recent bad press, I make you this offer: I will help you receive good press by trading you my newish Acura and older Honda sports car, straight up, for a Tesla roadster and a Fisker Karma. Think of how good it will make you look, and I also promise to BonesJones this and other forums daily with spam about how much I love my electric/hybrid wondercars.
Let me know.
S2000 • TSX
Nissan and Chevy aren't free of this either. Last year LEAFs had an issue where an overcharged A/C system caused the compressor to pull more power than the module had deemed fit, and once you turned the car off it wouldn't turn back on. I personally pushed a brand new LEAF off the street, and Nissan issued a service bulletin, and held cars in the port so they could update them.
It's the nature of all new cars, but small companies like Lotus, Ferrari, Tesla, Fisker, etc are worse usually than the big guys.
Am impressed they actually bought a high end vehicle like the Karma.
Gotta make it pay for itself somehow. In 4 more pre-release publicity!
P.S. Not sure a tiny company should allocate their early cars to this type of potential exposure.
Originally Posted by Kyle C