The soon-to-relaunch Fisker Karma will be basically the same car as the one that sunk Fisker in the first place, albeit with some much-needed upgrades, reports Reuters. Fisker’s new owner, Wanxiang Automotive, wants to get the car back on the road within the next year, and in order to avoid costly and time-intensive safety tests, they’re not redesigning the plug-in hybrid just yet.
It will have to be nearly identical to the 2012 model, or it would need to go through (safety) testing and certification again,” said Reuter’s unnamed source. “I don’t think they want to put a lot of engineering into it either, as well as probably use up some of the old parts that are in inventory.”
It makes good business sense, no doubt, and Wanxiang as already said that they’re working to iron out hundreds of “bugs” in the original design that led to its downfall. The source also said there are numerous planned upgrades to bring the quality of the Karma up to par with its $100,000 price tag, so the new cars won’t be exactly identical to the last ones to roll off the production line. Wanxiang also wants to complete development of the Fisker Atlantic, a midsize model with a starting price closer to $50,000.
The Chinese company wants to restart Karma production in Finland and achieve something resembling volume sales before moving production to the Delaware factory where Fisker had originally intended to build its car. The one-year relaunch is an aggressive timeline, and there are skeptics who doubt Wanxiang can make it happen. If they can, however, the Tesla Model III might have a legitimate rival from a competitor once thought dead.
First though, they’ll have to convince customers that the “new” Fisker Karma is a different-enough beast from the old Karma to justify the sizable price tag. People fell in love with the look, but had little good to say about the drivetrain, which was labeled both inefficient and underpowered. The interior was also claustrophobically small, earning the Karma a subcompact rating despite it having a wheelbase eight-inches longer than the full size Tesla Model S.
Nothing short of a total redesign can solve the cramped interior, but it looks like we’ll have at least a few years to wait before Henrik Fisker’s creation gets a new look.