Fisker Automotive, maker of the plug-in Karma sports sedan, hasn’t had an easy time of late, thanks to the Karma’s rather low EPA fuel economy rating and slower-than-expected initial production volumes.
But that is all behind the firm, company Chairman Ray Lane told Reuters yesterday. In an interview with the news agency, Lane confirmed that Fisker was confident about meeting its 15,000 Karma production target for next year.
“In production of a first vehicle, everything doesn’t go the way you plan,” Lane explained. “Next year, we’ll do exactly what we plan.”
Lane’s own assertions come a week after Fisker spokesman Roger Ormischer spoke out against a GigaOm article which suggested that the company was delaying production of its 2012 Karma extended-range sedan until the middle of next year.
Unlike Ormisher, who blamed various U.S. and state regulatory agencies for taking longer than expected to certify the Fisker Karma as legal to sell, Lane paints a picture in which Fisker’s Karma production was set back by manufacturing issues.
Reuters reports that Lane blamed the initial production delays on faulty electrical harnesses and headlight units, both of which needed to be rectified before the cars could progress through production.
If that wasn’t enough to dramatically delay production, Lane said a shipment of leather destined for the car’s interior trim and seats was damaged in a flood.
“The leather was useless,” Lane complained. “We had 250 cars parked and waiting for leather.”
With 150 cars being produced a week at its Finish factory, Lane claims that a total of 1,500 cars will be delivered worldwide before the end of 2011. By the start of next year, Fisker’s production lines are expected to be running fast enough to meet the 15,000 car production goals for 2012.
But with the 2012 Fisker Karma recently receiving a less-than exemplary qualification from the California Air Resources Board to add to its already unimpressive eco-image, Fisker’s biggest challenge might not be making cars, but persuading consumers that the Karma is “green-enough”.