Fisker Automotive Has 6 Models Planned For 2011-2016

While the American industry is trying to kill the weaker brands, similar to a lion choosing the weaker pray in a pack, Danish sports-car designer Henrik Fisker believes there's still room in the market for a new luxury car company. Not only that he's on the path to success, but he's also planning the addition of 6 models between 2011 and 2016.

Establishing the foundation of a new firm on a whole new approach - building a luxury line around a new environmentally-friendly technology and retailing it around the world - is Fisker's vision of the future carmaker.

"Very few people believed that we were going to make it." said the 47 year-old car designer in an interview for Autonews. "I get the question all the time: Can you really succeed? You can't blame anyone for asking it because, frankly, no one has succeeded," he added.

There were several factors helping the upstart auto manufacturer, starting with GM going into bankruptcy and offering its Wilmington, Delaware plant for just $20 million, and continuing with the U.S. Department of Energy kindly giving Fisker a low-interest loan of $528 million.

With that kind of funding, plus a little extra from some clever private investors, Fisker sets off into a sea of unknown. He is aware that other brands have been founded on considerably more money and eventually failed (take Saturn for example), but closes his eyes and nods yes. "But the time is right," he says.

Maybe the biggest chance in the forming of Fisker Automotive was meeting Alan Niedzwiecki, CEO of Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide Inc. His company had developed a hybrid-electric powertrain called Q-Drive and at the time of the birth of Fisker Automotive was looking for a consumer vehicle.

"We sort of reached the same idea at the same time. We said, 'We should start a company together.' " recalls Fisker.

The next step was finding an automaker that would be interested in producing a low-volume, high-end model. Fisker turned to Valmet Automotive Inc, a Finland-based carmaker that had been producing the Porsche Boxster and Cayman.

Having covered every single aspect of the car making process, Fisker went public at the Detroit Motor Show in January 2008. He showcased a very impressive vehicle (the Karma) that had a 400 horsepower battery drive. Fisker predicted that production would start at the end of 2009 and the car would cost around $80,000. With the launch slated in March 2011, this wasn't the only forecast Fisker was wrong about, the final retailing price jumping to $90,000 eventually. "It was premature," he admits. "But it couldn't be helped. We had to show the world what we were planning."

Fisker plans to build 15,000 Karmas a year in Finland. But the company aims to produce up to 10 times that many cars in a former GM plant in Delaware as more models will be added to the lineup over the next six years. Karma production will be moved to the States. The Delaware plant will also produce the Karma convertible, the smaller sedan Nina as of 2012, along with its coupe version and, possibly, a crossover. Fisker said in an interview for Bloomberg at the 2010 LA Auto Show that the technology that will go in the company's future projects will be less costly, as the company has learned its lesson from the production of the Karma.

Henrik Fisker also said he is considering an IPO after his company launches the Karma in March next year.
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