While 2012 hasn’t been a great year for Fisker Automotive, the luxury hybrid car maker is still chugging along and looking forward. A new report suggests that Fisker is currently planning a third “entry level” model due to compete with the most successful plug-in hybrid on the market, the Chevy Volt. But will this affordable Fisker arrive in time?
The report, from InsideEVs.com, asserts that under the new mantle of leadership at Fisker, priorities are being shifted from production of the mid-level Atlantic to a lower-cost Volt competitor. What makes this even more interesting is that Fisker is reportedly looking for “strategic partners”, and this entry-level car could be based on another automaker’s design.
The most likely contender is Chrysler, for a number of reasons. Former Fisker CEO Tom LaSorda, is a former Chrysler executive who has been retained as a Fisker advisor after his replacement by Tony Posawatz. Chrysler is also the only major American automaker without a single hybrid vehicle in its lineup, or even in the works.
To compete with the Chevy Volt, the new Fisker would have to be priced between $30,000 and $40,000. The Fisker Atlantic will debut with a price of around $50,000, making it a bird of a different feather, albeit one that has been pushed back, possibly to make way for a cheaper (and higher volume) model. Developing a new vehicle architecture is difficult…but licensing an existing architecture from a company like Chrysler is much cheaper. But what car could Fisker take from Chrysler’s lineup, and turn it into a Volt competitor?
There is only one car that could work if you ask me; the Chrysler 300/Charger sedan. But these models are both heading towards the end of their life cycles, and are due for replacement. The Dodge Dart is newer (though based on an older Fiat design), but its compact nature could work against it. Then again, the Volt is also based on a compact car design (the Chevy Cruze), and that hasn’t seemed to hamper sales.
Are Chrysler and Fisker working towards a deal that will benefit both automakers and give them viable hybrid vehicles? Or will Fisker be forced to go it alone, and hope they can keep costs down, and positive press up? Are there any other car companies that could provide a viable platform for a Volt competitor?
Many questions…no answers.