One slow step at a time, Fisker is getting things buzzing again with a headquarters in Costa Mesa, CA, and an upcoming factory in Moreno Valley, CA. But the company is keeping quiet about when the first new Karmas might actually hit the road, at least until now. According to Jim Taylor, the company’s chief marketing officer, who spoke to The Orange County Register, the reborn automaker plans for a relaunch in 2016, probably in the middle of the year. Unfortunately, Taylor didn’t nail down a timeframe any more specific than that. “We won’t make any promises to say this is our launch date, get ready,” he said to the OCR.
Fisker still has some hiring ahead of it before the company is ready to actually produce vehicles again. The headquarters currently has 200 employees, including a new executive team, and is still adding people. As opposed to assembly at the Valmet factory in Finland (where the Karma was originally built), another 150 workers should be at the new 556,000-square-foot California factory when things get rolling there.
The Karma’s relaunch is already seeing delays, and the details about any changes to the vehicle still aren’t clear. The engineering team is repurposing some of the 150 unsold original Karmas as test platforms, according to the OCR, and they are creating bespoke software for it. Also, A123 Systems, now a corporate sibling of Fisker under Wanxiang, is reportedly supplying updated batteries with different chemistry compared to the previous, recalled units. Styling is rumored to be very similar previous version, and the luxury sedan remains an extended-range plug-in hybrid.
After getting sufficiently staffed, engineering complete, and production underway, the next major challenge is actually selling the relaunched Karma. Fisker still needs to expand its sales network. Although, repairing old examples for customers at points around the country could provide a foothold.