Fisker Buzz Forums banner

Henrik Fisker: What I'd do Differently

1319 Views 0 Replies 1 Participant Last post by  SoCalGuy

C/D: Let’s start at the beginning. You began working at BMW on a car that was pretty prescient considering how your career has gone since...

HF: Yes, I started there in 1989, and I was super-excited to start work on what I thought would be sports cars. To my big disappointment, my first project there was the E1, an electric city car—which is kind of funny, when you think of ?where I am now.

C/D: You climbed the ranks at BMW and were on course for the top. Why leave to be design director at tiny, little Aston Martin?

HF: The truth is I had no intention of changing. I was running BMW Designworks and driving around California in a BMW Z8—a car I’d designed. But then I bumped into Wolfgang Reitzle at the F1 Grand Prix in Monaco when Jaguar ?was there, and we got talking. He said, “Hey, Henrik, how would you like to design the next two Astons?” That’s something you just can’t say no to—and I’d be working on other advanced designs for PAG [Premier Automotive Group] as well.

C/D: You and Ian Callum are both variously credited with designing the DB9 and the V-8 Vantage. So, who did what?

HF: It’s something that happens in many companies—you go in and take over a project from someone else. That’s exactly what happened with both the DB9 and the V-8 Vantage. Ian Callum started the DB9, and I finished it. You can argue about the exact cutoff date and who did what, but I would say the V-8 Vantage is definitely a car that I sat down and had to sketch myself because there was no vehicle at that point other than a mid-engined concept. There wasn’t a clear starting and ending date on the DB9, but there definitely was on the V-8 Vantage.

C/D: So if Aston was such a great gig, why did you leave?

HF: The time was right. With the V-8 Vantage, I’d set out where Aston was going to go—at that point, the Rapide was just starting to be discussed. I kind of felt I’d reached where I needed to reach in the corporate world, and I was thinking, “What’s next in my life?”

C/D: But setting up your own auto company with your name over the door—that was a big step.

HF: Any car designer always dreams about designing their own car—if they say they don’t, they’re lying. But what you realize quickly in the car industry is that it’s pretty much impossible. For me it was never about starting my own company just to make another car. When I made the decision together with Barney [Koehler], we said we wanted to make something special. This was back in 2005. The economy was amazing and lots of people were ordering specialty cars, so it seemed like the logical thing to do.

Henrik Fisker and the Karma

C/D: But the coachbuilding side quickly got subsumed into a bigger project?

HF: Yes. Fisker Automotive came about when we discovered this military technology, the Aggressor concept, that used an electric motor to go quietly behind enemy lines—and we saw the possibility of using the technology to launch a brand with a whole different meaning.

C/D: Others have tried it. How does it feel to be compared with John DeLorean?

HF: Ha! Well, you’re always going to be compared with other startups because how many times does somebody start a car company? When Barney and I went out to raise money, we did hear the comparison. We actually went to meet DeLorean’s former CFO to work out what went wrong there. And one of the things we understood very quickly is that he spent all his money on the factory versus spending it on the cars. So we told each other that at least there’s one mistake we’re not going to make. We decided early on to outsource the production of our first car, the Karma.

C/D: What if Fisker is such a success that VW offers you a billion dollars for it?

HF: We’re not going to sell for a billion—that’s way too cheap. There’s huge potential in this brand. We’ve already designed lots of other models we haven’t shown to the public yet. It’s very difficult to discuss hypothetical business deals. What I will say is that when we look to the future and beyond the Nina, our second platform, toward a third line and a lower price point, I think at that time we will want some cooperation with another car manufacturer because we want to have a certain scale, a certain purchasing power.

C/D: So what would you do differently?

HF: When we started Fisker Coachbuild and did the one-off cars, frankly, I would have put a little less effort into the amazing quality we put into them. We made aluminum doors and steel fenders, and we were competing against people who made fiberglass bodies. We thought people would appreciate it, but not enough people appreciated it enough to pay all the money we wanted for it.View Photo Gallery
See less See more
1 - 1 of 1 Posts
1 - 1 of 1 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.