The saying what goes around comes around echoes loudly in our minds after a Reuters report, published February 18th, announces Fisker to come round again, this time with a supercharged V8 engine. We all remember when the manufacturer of the highly stylized and environmentally-minded Karma sports car was forced to stop production in 2012 after various issues. It was disappointing news, especially when it seemed to be an answer to the eventual necessity in the market for a hybrid sports car.
But perhaps all of that can be forgotten because last Tuesday saw the U.S. unit of the Chinese Wanxiang Group approved to acquire Fisker’s assets for $149.2 million. Wanxiang plans to work with Bob Lutz, former General Motors executive, and Gilbert Villarreal, his partner, who have established VL Automotive together. A known critic of Fisker’s environmental philosophy, Lutz believes that luxury car owners prefer horsepower and excitement over reducing their carbon footprint.
Now he gets to prove it.
Wanxiang Group has called VL Automotive the “soul of Fisker.” Back at the 2013 North American International Auto Show, VL pulled the sheet off their VL Destino concept: a thundering, four-door sports sedan with the Karma body and powered by a Corvette ZR-1 drivetrain, capable of hitting the 200 miles per hour mark. At the time of the unveiling, Lutz said the price of the Destino might be set for $180,000 – a far jump from the $100,000 price tag of a Karma.
In a January 2013 post on Forbes.com, Lutz wrote that, “Some ‘greenies’ are already hyperventilating on blogs over the obscenity of converting an ‘earth-friendly’ electric car to gas. What they don’t realize is that their fanatical all-organic-tofu enthusiasm isn’t shared by the bulk of the luxury-car buying public.”
However, Wanxiang Group insists that Fisker’s green roots will not be totally abandoned. It plans to continue the hybrid Karma line alongside the Destino. Wanxiang has purchased A123 Systems, Fisker’s battery supplier, and intends to develop future hybrid cars.
Plans to restart production are anticipated in the coming months, starting at the Fisker plant in Finland. From there, cars are set to be produced at VL’s facility in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
Who else is quivering with excitement?