Karma Expands In Michigan, But When Will Volume Revero Production Happen?

JUN 24 2016 BY MARK KANE 11

Karma Automotive is really expanding its presence in Michigan.

First US-Built Karma Revero prototype on the line in Moreno, CA in May

First US-Built Karma Revero prototype on the line in Moreno Valley, CA in May

The California-based wannabe plug-in maker has announced the unveiling of the first model, the Revero for late this summer (which is essentially just the original Fisker Karma model …but with some light upgrades, and new suppliers)

Now, the company states a major new project is further taking place in Michigan, where Karma is expanding its Supply Chain, Engineering and Program Management. The company notes that is also growing its supply chain resources at its headquarters in Costa Mesa, California – which is adding new faces.

Karma also announced Dennis Dougherty is joining Karma in the newly created position of President & Chief Operations Officer. “Dennis brings with him extensive operations experience in the U.S., China and Mexico which will be invaluable as we launch the Revero and expand our global footprint,” said Tom Corcoran, CEO.

Darren Post, Vice President, Engineering said:

“We have a very aggressive growth plan, and we want to ensure we have the best available people in the industry. Detroit is the home of some of the top technical resources and leading suppliers in the world. We are pleased to announce that Kip Ewing, Eric Keipper, Scott Sabin and Bruce Smith have recently joined Karma’s leadership team in Troy, Michigan.  They bring with them expertise in many technical areas and deep experience with many great companies such as Aston Martin, Rolls Royce, Tesla, Ford, FCA, and GM.”

Scott Mors, Vice President, Supply Chain said:

“Our purchasing and supplier quality employees have been here in Detroit for two years.  Our continued presence and growth allows us more open communication and collaboration with our supply base.”

Despite another manufacturing-related announcement, we are still unsure when a volume retail production line will kick off.   Parent Wanxiang had previously promised in 2014 and in 2015 to have the car ready about a year later, which (obviously) did not materialize.

The company however, did recently announced that the first prototype of the new version of the Fisker Karma had been produced in May at its Moreno Valley, CA facility.

First Karma Revero prototypes was build last month at the company's Moreno, CA facillity

First Karma Revero prototypes was build last month at the company’s Moreno Valley, CA facility

First Karma Revero prototype being built in May

First Karma Revero prototype being built in May

It was said that the company targets just 100-150 Fisker Karmas Reveros to be sold in 2017, with a price tag around ~$135,000.

We are still unsure if these first cars will be full, from the ground-up, new products, or will have some donor parts; as when the company was acquired several years ago more than ~150 units of old inventory was reportedly left behind/part of the deal.

But,what we would really like to see next from Fisker’s Chinese owner Wanxiang is a press release that says “retail production has started” or “this is when we will deliver” so we could get on with it on already.  It is clear that there is action to make that day a reality at some point – so that is progress.

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11 Comments on "Karma Expands In Michigan, But When Will Volume Revero Production Happen?"

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Why would anyone buy this car over BMW i8?

BMW is actually one of the suppliers for Karma, along with being a part equity owner in Karma.

BMW was going to replace GM as Fisker’s engine supplier, for Fisker’s Atlantic (before they went bankrupt.

One rumor is that BMW is supplying the engine for the Revero. So the difference between buying a Karma Revero and a BMW i8 might end up being less of a choice than you might think.

The BMW i8 has been considered a success by most accounts. What would be the problem with an i8 cousin, if they are successful too?

Yes, I heard about the engine swap to BMW news before…

But from a buyer’s point of view, why would anyone take a chance on something that is less known, slower, heavier and has less dealer network support than a BMW i8 which is reasonably rare and successful?

Sure, people who spend $140K aren’t usually “logical”. But I just question the market potential for this car.

Yes, I do hope it does better than it did before. But I just don’t see it…

That is also not mentioning the other “big competitor” in the room, the Tesla Model S P90D…

I think you nailed it when you said that car buyers aren’t necessarily logical, or even rational. That could be said of i8 buyers too.

Different and exclusive is sometimes an advantage, not a disadvantage. Which is why BMW partners with Alpina too, and buyers love the exclusivity of owning an Alpina instead of just a regular BMW:

http://www.alpina-automobiles.com/en/

As far as specs and reliability, I don’t have a crystal ball either. But the current parent company for Karma and A123 has a very good 50 year track record of success, and way more money than Fisker ever had.

Karma’s new owner is a self-made Billionaire with years of experience in automotive parts manufacturing. Aside from being bought by an existing major car maker, I can’t think of anybody else better positioned to succeed. I would think twice about betting against his track-record of success.

http://www.forbes.com/profile/lu-guanqiu/

As for the market for this car, there won’t be a huge market. It was never designed to be a mass market car. It was always Fisker’s halo car.

If Karma never builds any other model than the Revero, the company probably doesn’t have much of a future. They are going to have to revive the Atlantic or build something completely new and move forward from the Revero if they are really going to go anywhere.

Considering the size of their 550,000 square foot Moreno Valley factory, it is way bigger than needed to build just Revero’s. My guess is that they have bigger plans. Otherwise they could have just used the factory space they already have in the Chicago/Detroit region.

Good luck to them.
I hope they fixed the issue of overheating of the engine bay.

And the infotainment system….

And the body panel fit and finish…

the battery clamp, the radiator fan, the HVAC, the soft splines on early motors, etc…

Yea, they need to have spent some time fixing things. Luckily Karma doesn’t have a loan deadline with performance requirements like Fisker had, which forced Fisker to build production cars before they were really ready.

Most of this Fisker had already fixed, or were working on fixes for when they went bankrupt. So we will see.

According to Karma’s facebook page, the first Karma Revero prototype rolled off their assembly line a month ago:

“May 11, 2016 marked a new chapter in the book many thought already completed. That was the day the first Karma Revero rolled off of the assembly line in our new Moreno Valley factory.

This, along with our early cars, are destined for a spate of engineering tests, but we are now on the path to start production on what will become our first customer vehicle. ”

https://www.facebook.com/KarmaAutomotiveLLC/

I’m not sure why the knee-jerk hate based upon the failures of the previous owners is being targeted at an entirely new company, with new ownership, board of directors, and executive management staff. Let’s see what they can do.

And more importantly, let’s see where they go next.

You know, although the “new Fisker” Karma has missed deadlines a couple times and is 2 years behind schedule…they are building something now, so I think it is fair that the story did come off a bit jaded/harsh at this point.

Appreciate the perspective Nix, we’ll expand/add in some context, and maybe a shot of the new production to the story, (=

Thanks

No problemo…we want to be fair, and put out the best product we can, over just sticking with something ‘as it is’. Sometimes we will fall short in our take on a situation, but I think better to just acknowledge when we do…and then do better. Appreciate you input.