Fisker Buzz Forums banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
169 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
for the true unsung heroes of Fisker - the service managers. I just got back from my servicing center and Nick at Dixie Volkswagen in Mississauga is fantastic. They truly listen to the well founded complaints of customers and try to explain the source of their frustration. While he knows they're not 'excuses' and we agree that more testing should have been done before launching the car, he says the responsiveness of head office has been nothing like he's experienced with other car companies. They fly technicians out and make comprehensive lists of issues so they can try and resolve them in later patches/updates.

The hardware side is a bit more difficult, however, and I think the Karma is quickly turning out to be a bleeding loss leader which could have some implications for current owners. Again, I hope I'm wrong but I will make my case nonetheless.

Before I go into that however, just an update on what I found out from my service call where I had my winter tires put on and was asking about the source of the annoying whining sound when accelerating. The winter tires seem to be great, they look good and they even feel better on the road with a smoother feel in doing a tight turn. The annoying whine is coming from the Rear Traction Motor and they claim that this will always have a noise but that it can get worse. They gave me an example where a unit was replaced after 8000 km but he admitted that it too will make some noise once broken in. I'm sure they can get a parts manufacturer to come up with a Rear Traction Motor that doesn't whine but that would mean more money spent on an owner base that won't give them any more incremental revenue which leads me to my fear about being a current owner...

I got my winter tires put on now because I am about to go on a long road trip to a hockey tournament in Sudbury which is about 5 hours away and it will likely be snowing there. People stare at me with incredulity when I say that I am going to drive my Karma in the winter but I really don't have a choice. This is my main mode of transportation and I'm not one of these uber wealthy people who can drop $120k on a novelty to show to their friends and park it unless they're going out for a short drive (yes, that's my jab at the range issue :) ). While the company may be looking forward to the launch of the Atlantic, my fear is that they're going to view the Karma as being a loss leader and decide not to support it as much, going forward.

Having gone through thousands of companies and interviews with management teams, the approach Fisker will take may fall into 2 broad categories:
1. Current Karma owners are relatively wealthy and we don't need to feel sorry for them experiencing a first gen car that had a lot of bugs. Our sales guys did a great job in selling it and we've done what we can to iron out some bugs while rolling the car out but going forward, these aren't people that will either buy another Karma any time soon or they will not be the main target for the new Atlantic. New batteries, hardware without the bugs and all of the lessons learned from the Karma will get fixed on the Atlantic and we will hope to sell a lot of these cars and compete against the lower cost rivals (Tesla) where we know our quality and better looks will have a competitive advantage however for those Karma owners... well, thanks for being early adopters but we're not going to spend more than we're legally obligated to on keeping you happy.

2. Recognize that there is a lot of value in reputation and integrity. Companies build longevity with these and those who don't find themselves having a very small margin of operating error. If you treat your customers right, they will spread the word and people will be more tolerant of mistakes/issues making this even more important to a start-up company with bleeding edge technology. Any marketer will tell you it's near impossible or very expensive to change a first opinion so you're better off in investing in building a good reputation if you want to build a company that will stand the test of time and fickle consumers. The auto industry is ridiculously competitive and your competitors are huge companies with lots of capital. Right now I'd be very curious to hear what the customer satisfaction rating would be like for the Karma in various categories but knowing Henrik and his wife drive one and the personal letter he wrote to Karma owners, is nice and hopefully they will follow through with their commitment to the people that basically funded the company through sales.

There are some large costs coming up with making the Karma truly successful and as everyone gets their muffler adjusted or replaced, have things like this Traction Motor replaced, and the myriad of other hardware fixes, Fisker will be faced with some serious questions about how they continue with the Karma. The biggest expense may be the batteries and I heard that there is a lot of work being done on getting better batteries. Who will bear the cost of replacing these especially if they become available before the warranty expires? Will they wait until after the warranty expires to offer a better battery that may already be used in the Atlantic?

Unfortunately, I have seen too many companies underestimate the value of reputation and product integrity so I'm not too hopeful but I hope I'm wrong... one thing is for certain though, the service managers need to be listened to and they are the unsung heroes in this business. After the sale is done, we hardly ever hear from the sales person and the service manager is the person of contact so we tend to build a longer relationship with them and they can be a great source of information back to head office.

Thanks again to Nick for being patient and what makes him great is that he takes the time to thank me for being patient with a car that he knows has issues but they're working hard (at least for now) to resolve them. Hardware performance is out of his hands and no one should make excuses... the whining hum just shouldn't be there from a Traction Motor but at least they recognize that it's an issue and he's willing to hear my complaints and forward them to head office... Henrik, it's now in your hands.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Hockeydad,

I concur, my experience with Fisker dealers and service has been excellent.

I have been to a couple of owner events sponsored by Fisker and the attitude of the employees, from Henrik Fisker down the line is they value the early adopters.

I definitely don't think we will be abandoned, we are considered brand ambassadors. They want our experience to be very positive. We are the ones people come up to and ask about the car at the mall, the hardware store, etc...

As an owner for 3 weeks short of a year, I can say without reservation my car is better now than when I purchased it. Fisker has provided updates to the vehicle which have made continual improvements from when I took delivery.

After some conversations I had at the last Fisker Orange County event in late October, I expect there will be more software updates coming our way in the first quarter of next year. I'm looking forward to continued improvement of our Karmas.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
169 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I can only imagine what your car would have been like almost a year ago... I'm glad things are getting better. From the perspective of a new owner, it's still frustrating but the service guys make it a bit more tolerable.

Here's a simple software flaw that made me laugh... have you noticed that your radio preset 'resets' itself to the last station of the 3rd page after about 10 minutes or every time you start your car?

So if you are on a certain station, say preset 4 on page 1... after a while, you decide you'd like to change stations and press the toggle on the steering wheel. Bam! You end up going back to the last station on the 3rd page. Now, doesn't this tell you that whoever was testing the car after the software date, didn't even listen to the radio? I know there is a lot of debugging that goes on but I would just suggest that the engineers and Henrik drive the car around for a few days with the new update and spot bugs that might occur to every day drivers before they publish it. This bug is pretty embarrassing if you ask me :)

I'm slowly trying to adjust my expectations (pretty sad I have to do this though) and pretend that I bought the car to get only 50km of average mileage for a single charge and that I've been to the gas station 3x since I got the car but it's really hard when my wife and friends point out what a bad purchase I had made and how I'm a sucker for being an early adopter. Ya, I guess I should have waited a few years but what's done is done so I'm looking forward to the day where I've convinced myself that I should be happy after I park my car after driving it for 50km without using gas :-/ but some would say that I shouldn't have a problem in changing my mindset as this is just a 'minor issue' and that it should be solved in the Atlantic, a car that I don't own.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
I've never had that issue. Are you using the same keyfob each time? Did you set your primary and secondary keyfob in the command center?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
@Hockeydad: I'm really scared to find out what I am going to be offered when I trade my car in for something else. I never drive the car because I am keeping the miles off of it so that I can trade the car in for something that is not full of these issues. My friends and family say the same thing. I can't rewind the clock, but I can't wait to get rid of this car and just get back in to something that honestly, gets better MPG and is NOT elec. Thats the reality. Thanks for all your posts. For a while I thought I was the only one that owned a Karma who was not living in "La La Land".....
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,001 Posts
@VegasKarma, I'm curious. Why haven't you already traded in your Karma? If you never drive it, you're not happy with it, and can't wait to get rid of it, then why hang on to it another day?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
122 Posts
I've also had the car about a year and am generally pretty happy with it. But I have to admit, I have the same radio issue as HockeyDad...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
169 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'd LOVE trade in my car as long as I don't lose too much on it... anyone want to buy a beautiful black Eco sport Karma with the beige/earthy tone interior? It's an awesome colour combo and I've only got 1900km on it. I miss my Audi S5... now that was a fantastic car. A gas guzzler maybe but heck, the differential is only $1500-2500 in gas.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,001 Posts
@Hockeydad, the sooner you sell it, the less you'll lose. This might be a good time to cut your losses and get back into an S5.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
435 Posts
i like my karma, it is a very special car and think it works good now.
I can agree i am disappointed that i dont get anywhere near 50 miles in range.
If i would use it in sport for a long time i would not like it
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
556 Posts
Agreed. Hockydad, life is too short to drive a car you hate. Cut your losses. The cost differential between driving electric and gas won't justify an electric car (yet) as you pointed out, or a car you hate (ever).

If the cost per mile is important to you, I suggest looking at a Kia Rio, which has a very low cost per mile if all costs of ownership are factored in. Fuel is just one factor in the owner's economic cost of miles driven.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,001 Posts
If the cost per mile is important to you, I suggest looking at a Kia Rio, which has a very low cost per mile if all costs of ownership are factored in. Fuel is just one factor in the owner's economic cost of miles driven.
This might just be my all time favorite quote from FiskerBuzz ever. :)
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top