Fisker To Establish New Technology Center In Midwest U.S.

Fisker Atlantic Design Prototype  -  2012 New York Auto Show

Fisker Atlantic Design Prototype - 2012 New York Auto Show

Enlarge Photo

During the development phase of the Fisker Karma, the automaker established a temporary technical center in Pontiac, Michigan, in order to be closer to automotive industry suppliers and experienced engineers.

In the spring of 2010, as the Karma approached finalization, Fisker shut its Pontiac tech center, choosing to preserve capital for the car’s launch.

Now, some two and a half years later, Fisker is once again shopping for real estate in the Midwest.

This time around, Fisker plans on opening a permanent technical center, initially tasked with completing the design of the Fisker Atlantic sedan.

The electric automaker, flush with $100 million in new equity funding, has ambitious plans to open the new technology center next spring. That may not be possible, given the looming winter and current lack of a chosen location.

In fact, Fisker’s press release says only that the brand is establishing a center in the Midwest, with a potential emphasis on southeast Michigan.  

As for the reasons why, Fisker CEO Tony Posawatz sums it up by saying, “We will be bringing our own engineering footprint closer to our supplier base and the expertise and professional workforce that have driven the American automotive industry for more than a century.”

MIchigan, assuming that’s the site ultimately chosen, is also a lot closer to Fisker’s Delaware manufacturing facility than its California headquarters, not that this really matters in an age of cheap and plentiful flights and video conferencing.

2012 Fisker Karma

2012 Fisker Karma

Enlarge Photo

Will Fisker be able to justify the expense of a Midwest tech center on a long-term basis? That remains to be seen, as Fisker isn’t the only small volume manufacturer to shutter a Michigan facility.

In January of 2007, fellow electric automaker Tesla opened an R&D center in Rochester Hills, Michigan, in order to be closer to industry suppliers. By October of 2008, Tesla announced it was closing the facility as a cost-cutting measure.

Which begs a serious question for Fisker: will the new Midwest technology center help that automaker expedite the design and production of the Fisker Atlantic, or will it prove to be merely another costly distraction?


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Comments (9)
  1. How much funding does MI provide in this relocation?

  2. That's a very good question, and I'm sure that the state kicks in a generous amount.

    When Kodak and Xerox were faltering, Rochester, New York literally paid companies to relocate there. They were even more generous if the companies built new facilities.

  3. Fisker seems to be sitting on a ton of cash and seems content to do nothing important with it. The Karma needs an overhaul and they should produce the Atlantic ASAP they need a car on the market thats actually worth it's asking price. The Karma with it's performance and build quality should be priced closer to a Mazda 6.

  4. CDSpeed, it begs the question of how much cash will be spent to open the new tech center, instead of using it all to produce the new Atlantic.

    Don't forget that Fisker Karmas are essentially hand-built in low volumes; until its economy of scale changes, it will remain at or near the current price.

  5. Kurt, I wasn't complaining about the price of the Karma I was complaining about the low performance and poor quality given it's 100,000+ price tag. I looked at buying one and ended up feeling that all I would be getting is a rolling sculpture, it was nice to look at but it didn't do anything that most six figure cars can do. As for where they should spend their money, I don't really know but I do think they need some great product to keep them moving forward. So they should at least overhaul the Karma.

  6. CDspeed, what are you looking for in a six figure car? Yes the Mercedes and BMWs have lots of advanced electronic features, but the sport grand tourers like Aston Martin and Maserati are less featureful despite even higher price tags.

    My Fisker Karma doesn't have near the top speed of my Aston Martin DB9, but it's WAY more comfortable and enjoyable for a daily commute, and it is a moving sculpture! The quirks for the two cars are very similar -- tiny trunk and tight rear visibility. But the Karma only costs 2/3 of the DB9.

  7. It's 0-60 time of 6.3 first of all is slow, I look at acceleration as an indicator of what it can do not the top speed so it should at least hit 60 somewhere around 5 seconds give or take. Yes Astons and Maseratis are less technical but for the money all the interior controls work with ease, with the Fisker your stuck with that horrible slow hard to see screen. The trunk is way too small, you should see the trunk in the BMW 6-series Gran Coupe for comparison. And the one thing that made me mad in the Karma, was the back seats. Despite the size of the Karma the back seats are really narrow and my head sits firmly up against the ceiling. It is supposed to be a big luxury crossover sedan, not a DB9.

  8. Aston Matrins and Maseratis are also on quite a different level in terms of fit and finish.

  9. For $100k, you can buy a $70k Tesla S and then buy a $30k ICE car for longer distance...

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