In a move that will surprise no one, Fisker’s new owners the Wanxiang Group have decided to drop the old name in favor of a new one. According to Reuters, the Fisker Karma will be renamed the Elux Karma, though it will take more than a name change to fix everything that’s wrong with Fisker.
Earlier reports indicated that Wanxiang wants to fix some 250 bugs in the Karma before its relaunch this year. Turns out those bugs are more like an infestation, and fixing a massively-flawed car is time consuming work. Now the Elux won’t launch until mid-2016, and on top of that it’ll also cost about $25,000 more than its original MSRP. There’s a good reason for the price bump though. After the bottom dropped out, it came to light that Fisker actually lost about $35,000 on every Karma it sold. So even with that price bump, Wanxiang still might end up losing some money on each plug-in hybrid it sells. But hey, at least they’ve got a shiny new website!
But wait, it gets worse! The technology in the Fisker Karma was supposedly “cutting edge” in 2011 when it was new. So, by the time the Elux Karma launches next year, that technology will have been stale for five years, and we already have cars like the Tesla Model S and BMW i8 doing an infinitely better job at winning the hearts and minds of green car enthusiasts. The Fisker Karma is a warmed-over reminder that for every success, there was a just-as-spectacular failure, and some people would rather the Karma be out of sight and out of mind. Even Henrik Fisker wants to put his billion-dollar flop behind him.
Yet Wanxiang is determined to bring the Elux up to snuff, reportedly sinking big bucks into updating the Karma’s dated hardware. That could mean a better battery pack, providing more than a measly 32 miles of electric driving range, and hopefully a more efficient gas generator that does better than 20 MPG.
Can the Elux Karma succeed where the Fisker Karma failed?