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Old 03-08-2012, 03:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Fisker Karma car dies in Consumer Reports testing

Fisker Karma car dies in Consumer Reports testing

Thu Mar 8, 2012 7:35pm GMT

* Car dies at Consumer Reports test track

* Model had less than 200 miles on it

* Leonardo DiCaprio and Justin Bieber own Karmas

DETROIT, March 8 (Reuters) - A $100,000-plus Fisker Automotive luxury car died during Consumer Reports speed testing for reasons that are still unknown, leaving the struggling electric car startup with another blow to its image.


"It is a little disconcerting that you pay that amount of money for a car and it lasts basically 180 miles before going wrong," David Champion, senior director for the magazine's automotive test center, told Reuters.

Fisker has benefited from the publicity generated when actor Leonardo DiCaprio was handed the first Karma last summer and pop idol Justin Bieber received one as a gift this month.

The breakdown of the Consumer Reports car is more bad news for a company that already recalled some Karmas. Fisker also has changed its chief executive and halted production at its U.S. plant over the past month as it seeks to renegotiate the terms of a $529 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Fisker officials could not immediately be reached to comment, although Champion said since the magazine buys the cars it tests anonymously the company may not know.

Fisker has found itself under the microscope as its woes have mounted. In January, it halted Karma sales for four days to fix a software malfunction that at times triggered warning lights while temporarily freezing navigation systems.


In December, it recalled 239 Karmas due to a possible defect in batteries made by supplier A123 Systems that could cause a coolant fluid leak and electrical short circuit. The previous month, A123 reduced its full-year revenue outlook after Fisker unexpectedly cut orders.

The magazine bought the car new from a Connecticut dealer last Friday. On Wednesday, Consumer Reports engineers were just starting to calibrate the Karma's speed by driving 65 miles per hour down the magazine's test track in East Haddam, Connecticut, Champion said. "During the gentle run down the track, a light on the dashboard came on," he said.

The speed test was completed despite the light on the control panel, but after it was parked, officials were unable to get the car restarted.

Champion, who called the Karma "gorgeous looking," said problems with new technologies are not surprising.

Federal safety officials opened an investigation last November into the safety of the battery pack in General Motors Co's Chevrolet Volt plug-in electric car after they uncovered fire risks. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration closed its probe in January without finding any defects and expressing satisfaction with GM's remedies to better protect the lithium-ion battery pack.

Nevertheless, weak demand for the Volt led GM to announce plans to suspend production of the plug-in electric car for five weeks this spring.

Consumer Reports has tested the Volt, which scored highly on the magazine's reliability surveys, as well as Nissan Motor Co's all-electric Leaf, Champion said.

The magazine was testing the Karma because it was deemed a more mainstream vehicle, he said. It has not tested any cars made by Tesla Motors Inc.

"The fact that it broke is not going to affect our testing," Champion said of the Fisker Karma. "It is going to delay possibly getting our testing done if it keeps on breaking. It's just an unfortunate delay in our evaluation."

The issue also will not affect Consumer Reports' reliability rating for the car because those scores are based on feedback from owners who subscribe to the magazine, Champion said.

"It can't be helpful, but it's one of those things," Champion said of the Karma's problems. "Cars break down, but you don't expect them to break down in the fist couple of days." (Reporting By Ben Klayman; Editing by Gary Hill)
--------------

Also, turns out they have been reading Fisker Buzz - they tried a soft reboot. More info from CR here:
http://news.consumerreports.org/cars/2012/03/video-bad-karma-our-fisker-karma-plug-in-hybrid-breaks-down.html
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Old 03-08-2012, 04:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default RE: Fisker Karma car dies in Consumer Reports testing

This embarrassing episode could turn out to be a good thing for both Fisker and its owners, as it will put a bright spotlight on the need to fix these unacceptable bugs. Hopefully Fisker will respond by improving customer communication and revealing a plan to address the remaining bugs in a timely and transparent manner.
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Old 03-08-2012, 09:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default RE: Fisker Karma car dies in Consumer Reports testing

I just hope they will be around long enough to fix the problems. The car is truly awesome- ride, handling, luxury, quality & price. My dealer is very conscientious about all service issues. They and Fisker seem committed to diligently addressing each one. It all comes to an end if they cease to exist.
I have no idea what their true financial state is.
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Old 03-08-2012, 10:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default RE: Fisker Karma car dies in Consumer Reports testing

Well, this is definitely on Fisker's radar. They just sent an email to all Karma owners:


From: Josh Batie [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Thursday, March 08, 2012 6:17 PM
To: Josh Batie
Subject: Fisker Information - Consumer Reports Articles


To: All Fisker Karma Owners

Yesterday one of our customers, Consumer Reports, experienced a service event with their Karma. In line with their mission to keep the consumer informed they posted a video about it today. Reuters ran a story as well.

As a new company introducing a new technology into the marketplace, customer satisfaction and a quick and thorough response to any issue is our primary focus.

As part of our Fisker VIP Customer Service program, the local Fisker retailer immediately arranged for the car to be picked up and diagnosed by trained service technicians. Our engineers are in contact with the retailer and are working closely to understand the cause, resolve the issue and return the car to their customer quickly.

It is always our goal to keep you, our customers updated as well. Please understand that our first commitment at Fisker is to provide you an ownership experience that you can be proud of and gives you complete peace of mind. We want to surpass your expectations. Rest assured that we are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and that if you have any questions or concerns please contact us directly at 855-575-7577.

Thank you,


Josh Batie
Director of Customer Services
Fisker Automotive
[email protected]
855-575-7577


(I know some folks will be tempted to make allegedly clever comments about "VIP Customer Service" and "our goal to keep you, our customers updated". I think that horse is pretty well dead. Let's try to control ourselves )

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Old 03-08-2012, 11:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default RE: Fisker Karma car dies in Consumer Reports testing

Quote:
Originally Posted by LonePalmBJ
(I know some folks will be tempted to make allegedly clever comments about "VIP Customer Service" and "our goal to keep you, our customers updated". I think that horse is pretty well dead. Let's try to control ourselves )
It was nice to see Fisker reach out to owners for the first time, even if it was in damage control mode. Let's hope this is indicative of a positive change under their new leadership and the beginning of more proactive communication to the owners.



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Old 03-09-2012, 12:17 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default RE: Fisker Karma car dies in Consumer Reports testing

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoCalGuy

* Leonardo DiCaprio and Justin Bieber own Karmas
I like to think about Colin Powell having one in my area. Justin Bieber, PLEASE!!!!

WIthout the CR report I probably would not have found this place as a resource for the Karma. I guess that is a plus.

-jeff
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Old 03-09-2012, 01:05 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default RE: Fisker Karma car dies in Consumer Reports testing

This is not good news for Fisker. I'm pretty disappointed by my SECOND Karma. The dealer kindly bought back our first one and we just picked up our new on on Saturday.

There has been something go wrong with it every single day. I've done 6 or 7 hard reboots and several soft reboots to fix everything from the PDRN issue to the screen going dark.

I just don't get it. How did Fisker screw this up so badly? All they had to do was buy off the shelf radios, buttons to control things, etc. It's such a great looking car, but I've about had enough of my Fisker fun for a while.

Waiting for 6.15 to see if it fixes everything. Let's hope the Counsumer Report's car gets 6.15 ASAP!

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Old 03-09-2012, 02:52 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default RE: Fisker Karma car dies in Consumer Reports testing

From the CR article: http://news.consumerreports.org/cars/2012/03/video-bad-karma-our-fisker-karma-plug-in-hybrid-breaks-down.html

Quote:
After calling the dealer, which is about 100 miles away, they promptly sent a flatbed tow truck to haul away the disabled Fisker.

We buy about 80 cars a year and this is the first time in memory that we have had a car that is undriveable before it has finished our check-in process.
...

When we get the car back, we’ll film a First Drive video with our more traditional initial impressions. But so far, Fisker ownership is proving to be a bumpy ride.
Problem I see now is that the cat is out of the bag. Fisker knows this is the CR car, so clearly they're going to go above and beyond to make sure this car is trouble free. But will that be representative of a typical customer's service experience?[hr]
Quote:
Originally Posted by ffcars
...I've done 6 or 7 hard reboots and several soft reboots to fix everything from the PDRN issue to the screen going dark.
Somehow I read that as "the PORN issue."
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:22 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default RE: Fisker Karma car dies in Consumer Reports testing

This is just embarrassing for a beautiful looking car. I certainly hope Fisker will extend their warranties for all the early adopters, and consider a complete revamp of the console. This may turn out most cost effective in repairs and customer satisfaction.
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Old 03-09-2012, 12:29 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default RE: Fisker Karma car dies in Consumer Reports testing

I'm worried. My car is coming in mid April & now I just don't know if I made the right decision. I just don't want my wife and kids to get stranded on a Chicago HWY.
Maybe I should hold on to my Bentley GT?
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