Fisker Automotive put out their "inaugural business update", and attempted to put their best foot forward.  Amongst the highlights were:

  • $100 million revenue generated in four months to April 30
  • 1000 Karmas delivered to customers since launch
  • Private equity funding exceeds $170 million in 2012...passing 1 billion in total
  • New Atlantic model unveiled in New York
  • Record sales in Netherlands signal European progress
  • Distribution deal agreed in Middle East
Realistically looking at these points, there is one exceptional accomplishment, one terrible one, and four points of meaningless chatter.

The Good:  Over a billion dollars raised!  Quite simply Henrik Fisker is a player when it comes to raising money.   Compare this accomplishment to the fact that Elon Musk over at Tesla had to fund the first two rounds of financing completely on his own, and you understand how significant this was.

The Bad:  1,000 Karmas delivered since launch.  This is a hideous result for Fisker.  About this time last year  they expected to ship 7.000 Karmas in 2011 alone.  Then by November of 2011, they had changed 2011 estimates to 1,500, but maintain moving 15,000 units  in 2012.  This is an abject failure to meet goals by Fisker. --- What is interesting in this update is what is missing.  Namely excuses.  Gone are the reasons for lack of production on the Karma.  No more 'government slowed the approval process' or 'battery supply issues'.

Tom LaSorda, Chief Executive Officer of Fisker Automotive, said this of the Karma and upcoming Atlantic:

“We are encouraged by solid demand for the Karma, our unique extended-range luxury model. Pending completion of investment sourcing, we are poised to press ahead with further market expansion and development of our higher volume model, the Fisker Atlantic.”

To say Mr. LaSorda is putting a brave face on the Karma would be an understatement.   The demand for the car is no where near what the company had said previously, or is what they are still trying to portray.

Orders with battery supplier A123 have been slashed, and the lithium battery maker is constantly writing down the value of the contract.  Internally, the company hopes to sell about 5,000 copies of the Karma per year going forward if possible.

But none of the bad news matters:

Why?  Because the Karma is old news now to Fisker.  The Karma was never build to make money or be a wide commercial success, its job was to put Fisker on the map, to give them credibility, and thereby enabling the start-up to raise money...and it did that in spades.  In this regard the Karma is/was a raging success.

Henrik Fisker, Executive Chairman of the company, didn't say much, but this snippet is really the heart of the press release “There is great confidence from the investment community..."  In fact, this probably should have been the only thing in the business update, because this is all that matters.

Where the company will ultimately be successful or fail, is with the Atlantic and the government's DoE loan money, which after more than a few delays and hiccups of its own should be out in mid-2014.

Read Fisker's Inaugural Business Update HERE