Elon Musk: Karma is 'a mediocre product at a high price' - Fisker Buzz Forums
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Old 08-18-2012, 10:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Elon Musk: Karma is 'a mediocre product at a high price'

http://rumors.automobilemag.com/tesla-ceo-elon-musk-slams-the-fisker-karma-163523.html

http://www.automobilemag.com/features/news/1208_q_and_a_elon_musk_ceo_tesla/



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Originally Posted by Automobile Magazine
You could say Elon Musk is fairly busy these days: bringing the Tesla Model S to production, not to mention sending Space X cargo ships into orbit, requires 100-hour work weeks. But the billionaire CEO carved out a few moments last week to throw a few bombs at nemesis Henrik Fisker and the plug-in electric rival to his Model S, the Fisker Karma.

“It’s a mediocre product at a high price,” Musk said in an interview with Automobile Magazine. “The car looks very big, and yet it has no trunk space and is very cramped inside, particularly in the rear seats.”

The rivalry between Tesla and Fisker dates back to the origins of both sedans. Tesla unsuccessfully sued Henrik Fisker, CEO of the eponymous car company, for developing the Karma while he was under contract for the design of the Model S. “We were paying someone to do styling for his own car,” Musk alleges. Tesla hired former Mazda and General Motors designer Franz von Holzhausen to pen a completely new, battery-electric Model S, which is now rolling off Tesla’s Fremont, California, assembly line with a base price of $95,400 (in the Signature trim level; a $57,400 version with a smaller battery goes on sale this fall). Musk sees a critical difference between it and the $103,000 Karma—and between himself and Fisker.

“The fundamental problem with Henrik Fisker — he is a designer or stylist…he thinks the reason we don’t have electric cars is for lack of styling. This is not the reason. It’s fundamentally a technology problem. At the same time, you need to make it look good and feel good, because otherwise you’re going to have an impaired product. But just making something look like an electric car does not make it an electric car.”

Alluding to the fact that the Karma leans heavily on suppliers, Musk continued, “[Fisker] thinks the most important thing in the world — or the only important thing in the world — is design, so he outsourced the engineering and manufacturing. But the fact is…that’s the crux of the problem. And he’s outsourcing to people who don’t know how to solve the problem.”

The Karma’s plug-in hybrid powertrain was developed by Quantum Technologies and employs a General Motors–sourced 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder for its gasoline engine. Contract manufacturer Valmet assembles the car in Finland. Tesla employed a somewhat similar model in producing its Lotus Elise-based Roadster, installing its own electric motor into a Lotus-supplied chassis. But for the Model S, Musk has gone to extreme lengths to vertically integrate production. Everything from the electric motor to the aluminum-intensive chassis and the seventeen-inch touch screen were developed by Tesla, which has grown from some 500 employees in 2009 to about 2000 today.

Musk allowed that the Karma, our 2012 Design of the Year, is well styled. “It looks good. Particularly from the side it looks good. I don’t love the front. It looks too much like a caricature of a Mexican Bandito—the grille.”

We ran Musk’s comments by Henrik Fisker, who responded via e-mail:
“Firstly, to set the record straight, Fisker won in court…a judge threw out the case and awarded costs to Fisker.
Secondly, we are delighted that Elon thinks the Karma is a good-looking car.

Obviously, Tesla and Fisker are appealing to two different customer bases with two totally different technologies. Tesla has pure EV and Fisker has a range-extended offering with no compromise on range. We are proud to have delivered over 1000 Karmas to customers in the U.S. and Europe and are now moving into the [Gulf Cooperation Council countries] and Chinese global markets.

We wish Tesla all the best with their latest model and hope that both companies go from strength to strength as they challenge the automotive rulebook.”

The truth is that both fledgling automakers have far bigger concerns than each other. But the enmity certainly makes things interesting. Who do you think builds a better environmentally friendly luxury sedan? Read our review of the Karma here and our first drive of the Model S here. Our complete interview with Musk is here.
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Old 08-18-2012, 10:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default RE: Elon Musk: Karma is 'a mediocre product at a high price'

Makes me less inclined to buy a tesla. Elon should recognize that he is more likely to get people like me buying BOTH - (i have my wife thinking about the model x when it debuts to replace our gas guzzling escalade)... but when elon bashes other e-vehicles, he does not help his brand. I think Henrick shows himself the bigger man in his quotes. Handled like a gentleman. Well done Henrick.
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default RE: Elon Musk: Karma is 'a mediocre product at a high price'

My thoughts exactly. I was considering a model X for my wife too but who wants to support the stock option plan of another CEO with a god complex. I've met Henrick and he IS a gentleman.
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Old 08-19-2012, 02:41 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default RE: Elon Musk: Karma is 'a mediocre product at a high price'

I guess I'm not alone. I'm keeping an eye on the X too. A friend put a deposit down but I'd like to wait a bit nearer to it being real.

I've been in the Sedan S (a friend owns one) and it's a very nice car. Lots of space, the touchscreen is absolutely gorgeous. Unlike the horrible CC in a Karma the touchscreen display on the Sedan S is a centerpiece. It's a very roomy and fast car but doesn't really compare in terms of sheer looks.

I hope there's space for both companies and they'll both thrive.

Not sure why Elon would bring up the court case since he lost and had to also pay out damages. Makes him look poorer for it...
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Old 08-19-2012, 01:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default RE: Elon Musk: Karma is 'a mediocre product at a high price'

Going a bit off-topic here: why does Fisker Automotive in official reactions and press releases keep on talking about 'over 1000 cars' delivered (a number that hasn't changed for at least 3-4 months now), when in this weekend's press release about the cooling fan it's talking about recalling 2400 cars? That number to me seems to be the more realistic one, so why is it feeding the critics by sticking to the number 1000 for so long?
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Old 08-19-2012, 02:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default RE: Elon Musk: Karma is 'a mediocre product at a high price'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutch
Going a bit off-topic here: why does Fisker Automotive in official reactions and press releases keep on talking about 'over 1000 cars' delivered (a number that hasn't changed for at least 3-4 months now), when in this weekend's press release about the cooling fan it's talking about recalling 2400 cars? That number to me seems to be the more realistic one, so why is it feeding the critics by sticking to the number 1000 for so long?
I think they've built over 2000 cars, but perhaps only delivered around 1000.


More on topic, I've said elsewhere I don't think Elon's comments are particularly helpful. I'm pretty sure most people that follow this stuff already know what Elon thinks of Fisker, but repeating that doesn't do anyone any good.

I'm assuming Henrik's comments got approved by the PR department before they got emailed out.
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Old 08-22-2012, 01:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default RE: Elon Musk: Karma is 'a mediocre product at a high price'

The Laguna/Monsoon I have coming in next week is number 002671, which leads me to believe the may be close to 3000 built.
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Old 08-22-2012, 06:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default RE: Elon Musk: Karma is 'a mediocre product at a high price'

Quote:
Originally Posted by pythagoras
My thoughts exactly. I was considering a model X for my wife too but who wants to support the stock option plan of another CEO with a god complex. I've met Henrick and he IS a gentleman.
My analysis: I'm 55 years old... actuarial tables put me dead at 75, in my last 2 years I will probably not be hammering electric cars around, and by then everyone will be driving them anyway. I've been driving my Karma for 6 months and I love it. It has one giant advantage over the Tesla S...it's sitting in my driveway! If, in 18 months I can get a Tesla, I'll buy one and if its better than the Karma fantastic, I'll keep the Karma or sell it or give to my kid... the point is, who cares? Two years of Karma driving instead of burning oil is a solid improvement for a least 10% of the rest of my life. And at what cost? At most, two years depreciation on the Fisker. I win over ANY Tesla buyer.

As a side note I know Elon through the aerospace industry and have always found him to be, while very focused and directed, a perfect gentlemen. I met Henrick once at a party at Art Basil in Miami and he knew I had one of his cars on order AND a BMW Z8 and he was, shall we say, a bit less than a perfect gentlemen.
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Old 08-22-2012, 11:42 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default RE: Elon Musk: Karma is 'a mediocre product at a high price'

I think Elon should refocus on getting HIS new car to the marketplace and stop bashing Fisker.

Tesla touted beating their July Model S ship target by delivering 10 cars on June 22. Here it is exactly two months later and they have delivered: maybe 40 cars in 60 days. My friend who is a Tesla Roadster owner and is getting Signature Special List #20 (approx.) is promised delivery next week. With no more than 40 founder cars, that averages less than one delivery per day.

Elon promised Wall Street 500 deliveries by 9/30 and 5000 by 12/30. Better get on the stick, otherwise watch that stock price fall. But be careful, you wouldn't want to deliver "a mediocre product".

Side Note: The MSRP on my Model S Signature Performance with options is $107,850. The comparable figure for my Karma was $110,050. I don't see how a $2200 (2%) difference constitutes a "high price" for the Karma.

Be wary of the CEO disease.



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Old 08-23-2012, 09:53 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Elon Musk: Karma is 'a mediocre product at a high price'

Waiting is getting very annoying. To be fair though, fisker touted deliveries last spring and real deliveries didn't happen until the winter. I think they're behind on their schedule, but as much as I didn't want to hear it, GeorgeB did warn of a slow and frustrating rampup.

Can't see getting my car in Sept now
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