At the same time the production-level Karma was rolled out at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Mich., the company also walked out the Karma S concept, a two-door hardtop convertible. The move was met with both skepticism and grudging respect. Normally car makers wait for a new model to be accepted and proven -- typically about three or four years -- before introducing a new model. Doing otherwise, some in the industry believe, potentially takes away from potential sales of the original. But then again Karma is set on breaking the mold and doesn't seem averse to taking chances.
The company, headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and with research and design facilities in Pontiac, Mich., has received more than 1,000 pre-orders for the Karma, and they've contracted with Valmet Automotive in Finland produce the first run of cars.
Fisker spokesman Russell Datz said ultimately Fisker will produce the cars in the United States with an estimated 15,000 cars rolling off the line each year by the end of 2011, which is when the Karma S will begin delivery. Datz said, depending on demand and federal incentives, prices on future models could drop to about $50,000.
The Fisker Karma will be delivered to the first customers by the end of this year. Datz said, and the company is offering a 50-month, 50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, one of the longest in the industry for hybrid vehicles.
At the time of this writing, about 35 dealerships in the United States have partnered with Fisker to provide Karma sales and service. Datz said there were more than 80 dealers signed on with the company worldwide, and he was confident the business model would work. "This is the first premium green vehicle," he said of the Karma. "It has all the amenities you would find in a Mercedes CLS or a BMW 7 Series. It offers a combination of style, performance and efficiency never seen before."
For more information about the Fisker Karma and hybrid cars, follow the links on the next page.