2009 Fisker Karma prototypeEnlarge Photo
The new owners of the Fisker luxury car brand will resume production of the Karma range-extended electric sedan initially at a contractor's factory in Finland--but not until the company has fixed "about 250 bugs" in the vehicle.
The news came as executives of Wanxiang, China's largest auto parts maker and now the owner of both Fisker and its battery supplier, A123 Systems, toured the U.S. last week and conferred with officials in several states.
As reported by industry trade journal Automotive News [subscription required], Wanxiang founder and chairman Lu Guanqiu and Wanxiang America president Pin Ni met with reporters last week in Washington, D.C.
2012 Fisker Karma EcoSportEnlarge Photo
The company intends to launch a second model--perhaps under a different name than Atlantic--once production of the Karma resumes.
The former Fisker Automotive halted Karma assembly at the Valmet plant in Finland in July 2012, following a battery-pack recall due to defective lithium-ion cells produced by A123 at a new battery plant in Michigan. It never resumed.
A123 filed for bankruptcy in October of that year, while the Fisker saga dragged on for another 18 months.
Fisker Atlantic concept unveiling before New York Auto Show, April 2012Enlarge Photo
Wanxiang finally bought Fisker's assets in a bankruptcy auction this past February, paying an unexpectedly high $149 million.
But while Wanxiang had initially said it hoped to resume Karma production within a year after taking control of the remains of Fisker Automotive, neither executive would commit to a schedule in their latest comments.
The company would one day like to make the Karma and other cars in the former GM plant in Delaware that it bought in 2009, but that was couched as a wish rather than a plan.
2012 Fisker Karma EcoChic, New York City, Jan 2012Enlarge Photo
Getting the Karma right, fixing the bugs in the existing car, and ensuring that a reliable supply of sufficiently high-quality parts from other suppliers could be established were more important than meeting an arbitrary deadline, according to the executives.
ALSO SEE: 2012 Fisker Karma - full review"Wanxiang can afford to make cars," summarized Pin Ni, "but Wanxiang cannot afford to make bad cars.”
The executives conferred with state officials and politicans in Michigan, where A123 has its cell-fabrication plant; Delaware, site of Fisker's empty factory; and the nation's capital, where Lu met with Vice President Joe Biden and Federal officials.