Henrik Fisker, namesake and founder of plug-in hybrid auto manufacturer Fisker Automotive, has resigned from the company. Most recently, he has served Fisker as Executive Chairman, but he was previously the company’s CEO. We knew that Fisker has been struggling with one issue after another for the past few problematic years, but the company’s namesake and founder leaving cannot be good news.
Fisker’s current CEO, Tony Posawatz, has been in that role since August. His predecessor was former Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda, who occupied Fisker’s corner office for just seven months, from February 2012 to August 2012 when Posawatz became CEO. Prior to LaSorda’s hire, Henrik Fisker himself was Fisker Automotive’s CEO.
The article linked above outlines many of Fisker’s troubles over the past few years. More recently, the Karma received an extremely poor rating from Consumer Reports (57/100). In fact, that’s the lowest test score of any vehicle that Consumer Reports lists on its website (subscription may be required). In fact, the Lincoln MKS and Volvo XC90 outscore it (albeit by not much), and for half of the Karma’s $102,000 price tag.
Henrik Fisker’s resignation means that his dream of running his own car company is put on ice for now, at least, and perhaps forever.
Meanwhile, the company that he left behind is struggling to raise capital to fund development of the Fisker Atlantic, a smaller, lower-cost plug-in hybrid sedan that was to be built in the mothballed GM factory in Wilmington, Delaware. The company did manage to raise $100 million in September 2012, but lost an important funding source when U.S. Department of Energy loans dried up in 2011. Fisker had been banking on the DOE loans to fund Atlantic development; without that money, the Atlantic’s prospects remain murky.
Now, without a lower-cost (read: volume-driving) model, its founder, and with its critical lithium-ion battery supplier in bankruptcy protection and trying to get out of its supply contract with Fisker, Fisker Automotive’s own prospects appear to be murky. Curiously enough, the company’s last hope at a rescue could come from China (does that sound familiar to any Saab fans?) Zhejiang Geely, the owner of Volvo, is leading the bidding to acquire Fisker. Geely seems to be doing a decent job in its management of Volvo, so maybe Chinese ownership wouldn’t be the worst thing for Fisker.
The company’s current trajectory is clearly not working, though.