Coming Around Again: Fisker Rebrands as Karma Automotive

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Karma Automotive

Karma Automotive figures that what goes around, comes around. That’s one reason the former Fisker Automotive brand not only ditched the Fisker moniker but also is renaming the next luxury electric car it is developing.

Now owned by Chinese auto parts company Wanxiang Group, Karma plans to start selling the renamed Revero car later this year, according to the Wall Street Journal. It will feature BMW-designed electric vehicle control and charging systems but essentially the same design as auto designer Henrik Fisker’s original $100,000 car. Karma has moved production equipment and tools to California from Finland to begin output of the car.

Fisker and Tesla went in different directions since they were both young electric car startups in 2012. While Tesla, of course, has famously has gone on to score big hits with its original Model S and current new sensation, its Model X SUV, and has signed up 400,000 purchasers for its planned Model 3 mainstream EV, Fisker filed for bankruptcy in 2012 after quality problems doomed its first car and caused Fisker to default $139 million on a US Energy Department loan.

Karma executives told the newspaper that they’re taking great pains to make sure the new vehicle holds up under quality scrutiny, because it will probably have a sticker price of $100,000 or more. The company’s approximately 500 employees, mostly in Costa Mesa, Calif., certainly are counting on that.

But the EV landscape has continued to shift during the four years that Fisker has been out of the market. Not only has Tesla achieved huge—if checkered—success, but also EV startups keep proliferating. They include Faraday Future, also Chinese-owned, which unveiled plans for a $1-billion assembly plant in Nevada and plans to sell its own Tesla fighter beginning next year.

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