How many ways can a car be delayed? For the Fisker Karma, the answer is: a lot. Following all sorts of problems in getting the luxury plug-in hybrid to market (to say nothing of the price increases and the two insta-recalls), Fisker's latest problem is, apparently, having finished vehicles that are stuck at the border just waiting to come into the U.S. (The Karma is built at the Valmet factory in Finland.)
According to Automotive News (via USA Today), the ongoing problems are causing potential buyers to take their $5,000 deposits back. USA Today writes, "Some 1,500 of the Finnish-built Karmas are stuck at sea, stuck in customs or otherwise stuck." That is not a good situation.
So, how does that 60-new-Karmas-a-day number look now? More importantly, if the Karma goes bad, will the company's next project – the already-controversial Nina for which the feds loaned Fisker over $500 million – be dead before it really starts?
*UPDATE: Roger Ormisher, Fisker's senior director, global corporate communications & PR, let us know that: "This information is not correct. We had a brief stop sale last week for software upgrades on the cars. This was cancelled on Wednesday evening and we are in the process of shipping cars to dealers and registering them again. There are no cars 'stuck at sea.' Rechtin's story in AN was based on an interview conducted more than 3 weeks ago – USA picked this up and in our view misrepresented the facts." We apologize.