Were Fisker Karmas Launched Too Quickly?

There has been a lot said on the Internet about technical issues with the Fisker Karma, including a recall for a battery problem and software upgrades.

The latest has to do with a Karma bought by Consumer Reports that broke down before the magazine could even start its regular testing procedure. The issue, as explained here, was fixed within 48 hours.

Consumer Reports stated: “A ‘fault was found in the battery and inverter cable. Both were replaced as a unit.’ In other words, we now have a brand-new lithium-ion drive battery pack provided under warranty, though likely costing as much as a small, fuel-efficient car.”

In the wake of this PR nightmare for Fisker, a former employee was quoted under the cover of anonymity stating that the Karma was “rushed to market before it was market-ready in order to try to meet government milestones for a loan.”

That former employee is now reportedly working for another California-based electric vehicle startup, Coda, which incidentally produced job one this week.

The same former employee reportedly said it wasn’t uncommon for Fisker’s first cars to have technical issues and that it was an element in the decision to leave.

A quick survey of the forum sections of sites like FiskerBuzz shows posts in which users inquire about ways to deal with lights flashing, resetting procedures and reboots, lending credibility to the statement pertaining to the fact the car may not yet have been market-ready.

Tom LaSorda, Fisker’s newly appointed CEO, released a letter yesterday in which he states: “Quality and customer satisfaction are the top priority for Fisker Automotive.”

“With any new technology there will be a need for initial updates and refinements and we have demonstrated the ability to quickly resolve them on a case-by-case basis,” said LaSorda. “In addition, Fisker’s 24 hour VIP contact centers, retail network with a proven customer service track record and our comprehensive vehicle warranty are all designed to give you, our customers, complete peace of mind.

“It is important to understand that despite widespread publicity of a service issue with a car belonging to Consumer Reports last week, Karma performed exactly as it was designed to. The on-board diagnostics detected a fault and entered a protection mode that shut the car down to protect other components. We are sorry for the inconvenience this caused the customer, but we focused on getting the car back to them as swiftly as possible.

“All identified parts have been returned to Fisker for a full engineering analysis.”