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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All,

First, thank you to all of you for providing so much valuable information, insight, and opinion on the Karma. I've also been encouraged by the occasional response from Fisker employees, which is crucial in letting the community know that Fisker is not working in a bubble.

I'm a serious prospective buyer. I've heavily researched and test driven the car, and I've handed over my deposit already. The Karma I've reserved has been built but not shipped yet. I'm comforted by the fact that my deposit in my state is, I've been assured, completely refundable by law if I decide the car isn't for me.

Like many of you, I'm a professional in a tech-related industry. I have a family. I'm too busy. I love cutting-edge products and I fit the early adopter stereotype, BUT I also value my time and my family's time, and I expect that a car that costs $110,000 should be exceptional in every important way. I think that expectation is very reasonable.

I have some experience with exceptional cars. I own an incredible Acura NSX which I purchased new before I had a family. The NSX is an amazing super car for a couple; the Karma is in principle an amazing supercar for a family. Virtually every design aspect of the Karma resonates with me, from the all-EV + gas generator heart of the car to the solar roof to the interior and, of course, the amazing exterior.

The fact that the Karma has so many bugs, both big and small, is a serious problem to a prospective buyer. I'm willing to go the extra mile to work with a company on beta testing and helping them finish a revolutionary product, as I've done many times in the past, but there are limits to how much time and energy we are willing to invest in a concept, no matter how beautiful it is. Some have said that of course there will be bugs, as this is the first model year of a new car design, and I can appreciate that, especially with the complexity of the car. But it's 2012, the auto industry offers more than ever before, especially with the current explosion of electric vehicles. Fisker shouldn't need its customer base to rationalize why it should be acceptable that the speedometer will occasionally not work, the check engine light will occasionally turn on for no apparent reason, the car may not always start on demand, radio presents are prone to vanish, the nav system is inferior by all accounts to my 10-year old Garmin unit that's worth less than $100, cars come out of manufacturing with known noise issues that can be fixed with simple adjustments, etc. etc. etc. Yes, the Karma is hand-built, but that doesn't represent an excuse for sub-exceptional quality. (The Acura NSX, while much less complex, was also hand built and EVERYTHING on my sample at least has worked flawlessly from the first moment of ownership.)

Perhaps more problematic is that fact that key features that are STILL BEING USED by Fisker to sell the car, like remote cabin preconditioning, and USB connectivity, simply don't work or induce serious additional problems.

I still believe that the Karma will be my next car. I hold out hope that all issues, big and small, will be addressed very soon. But for Fisker to avoid alienating serious prospective buyers such as myself and current owners, I suggest that the company strongly consider the following:

1) Acknowledge all remaining known software bugs in a comprehensive list. The best, least PR-damaging way to do so is by creating proper Software Release Notes. Each software update should include a list of fixes addressed by that update, followed by a list of known remaining issues. The release notes should accompany EVERY software update. I really believe that this change alone will significantly improve the Karma's long-term future.

2) Communicate with dealers to ensure that ALL fixable hardware issues are addressed before the buyer takes possession, including panel misalignment, noise issues from loose window components, etc.

3) Implement as soon as possible a free software update that replaces the poor, C- grade nav system with one that is at least a B+. Aside from disappointing prospective buyers and current owners, it's a PR disaster when anyone riding in the car with any familiarity with a modern nav system experiences the Karma's, especially since the nav system is one of the most visible, useful, and familiar components of a 2012-era car. It's embarrassing, yet true, that most nav-equipped cars that cost literally 1/3 as much as the Karma have significantly superior nav systems!

4) Keep your loyal Karma community better apprised of fixes, developments, and bugs. Even hiring one FTE to simply acknowledge, organize, and communicate to Fisker all the consumer feedback on this and other public forums would do wonders for the morale of your customers and prospective owners.

I really want this car to be a success and to be merely the first of many revolutionary products from Fisker. These changes would significantly increase the chance that this vision is realized.

Thanks for reading.
 

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@Drliu: I have had my car close to a month now and have about 900 miles on it. I post here prolifically about the various issues that have cropped up, some serious and other minor, starting with when I picked up the car with an almost dead HV battery and the ensuing shenanigans. Nevertheless, my current feeling about the car is similar to how some NRA members talk about their firearms, i.e. they would have to pry it out of my cold, dead hand to take the car away from me.

Hyperbole aside, I think this really comes down to two basic questions: (1)Are you willing to tolerate the issues and shortcomings in order to have the driving experience and the use of the technology, and (2) how responsive and helpful is your dealer in dealing with the more serious problems? Obviously, this is a personal question and each person needs to answer it differently. In my case and up to this point, I have decided that I am willing to make that trade and the service from my dealer has been beyond expectation. Also, I have no hesitation to transport my family in the car.

I also completely agree that Fisker needs to seriously upgrade some of the software, including the NAV system and the human interface issues but I was not willing to wait for perfection to experience the car and as of this moment, I am happy with that decision.

Regards,

Fabulist
 

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In fairness, I think there's a very real third basic question that must be considered... (3) Do you believe in the company, and it's ability to succeed long-term to maintain your resale value, parts availability, service, and support.

I think many are on the sidelines, wanting Fisker to succeed, but waiting to see how it goes before buying. I hope Fisker improves communication about the status of their finances, production, and software issues, to eliminate "buyer anxiety".
 

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drliu,

This is a great post, and I think you captured the general feeling of most forum members.

I've had my car for about 2 weeks now and like Fab I'm completely smitten. That doesn't mean it's been perfect: My check engine light has been on since day 1 and I've had a smattering of other issues. Most of the issues are SW related and most have only happened once which reinforces the idea that there is a timing or synchronization problem more than a core functionality issue. I personally haven't experienced any of the speedometer issues or PRND/start issues others have. The car has always behaved well for me from a mechanical, performance and safety perspective. In fact, I just took it on an 1100 mile roadtrip. I saw a few glitches, but overall the car performed amazingly. The only unintended delays occurred because every time I stopped for gas or to eat I had an audience checking out the car and asking questions :)

I'm an optimist by nature, and I think you have to be to invest in any leading edge technology; there's no guarantees about any of it, but there's obviously more risk buying a Fisker than a Ford. I'm confident the issues we've seen are resolvable and ultimately temporary. While I would like Remote Cabin Preconditioning to work, for example, it doesn't detract from my ability to use the car today, and I expect they'll get to it eventually. I'm willing to wait it out because for me the plusses far outweigh the minuses. YMMV. Literally.

Brent
 

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I've had my car for two months now. I absolutely love this car. I have learned how to make it work properly and what to avoid. I have absolutely no significant issue with the car. My biggest problem is the CEL. This car has never left me stranded and I have approx 1100 miles on it. This past week I have driven 249 miles at an average of 112mpg. As long as the weather is dry, I will drive this car daily now. It's totally prudent for anybody to wait to make the investment, but please remember people in general spend a lot more time discussing their issues than all the positives. So if you just read FiskerBuzz, then you are prone to get an exaggerated negative view of the car.
 

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Sigurd said:
I've had my car for two months now. I absolutely love this car. I have learned how to make it work properly and what to avoid. I have absolutely no significant issue with the car. My biggest problem is the CEL. This car has never left me stranded and I have approx 1100 miles on it. This past week I have driven 249 miles at an average of 112mpg. As long as the weather is dry, I will drive this car daily now. It's totally prudent for anybody to wait to make the investment, but please remember people in general spend a lot more time discussing their issues than all the positives. So if you just read FiskerBuzz, then you are prone to get an exaggerated negative view of the car.
The non buzz owners are out having fun driving instead of buzzing! Except for the Tron in their ears.
 

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@drliu - I completely agree with your sentiments, and believe your view represents that of a large portion of Fisker owners and prospects. The recommendations you make for addressing the software issues and improving owner communication are spot on.

What baffles me is why Fisker has not gone ahead and implemented suggestions like these about changing how to communicate with their customers. Fisker is a startup company in the Internet Age. Yet they seem to be clueless about how to use electronic media like this Forum to improve their image with customers and to remove sales objections raised by prospective buyers. I just dont get it. :huh:
 

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dennis said:
@drliu - I completely agree with your sentiments, and believe your view represents that of a large portion of Fisker owners and prospects. The recommendations you make for addressing the software issues and improving owner communication are spot on.

What baffles me is why Fisker has not gone ahead and implemented suggestions like these about changing how to communicate with their customers. Fisker is a startup company in the Internet Age. Yet they seem to be clueless about how to use electronic media like this Forum to improve their image with customers and to remove sales objections raised by prospective buyers. I just dont get it. :huh:
May be man/womanpower constraint?
 

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dennis said:
@drliu - I completely agree with your sentiments, and believe your view represents that of a large portion of Fisker owners and prospects. The recommendations you make for addressing the software issues and improving owner communication are spot on.

What baffles me is why Fisker has not gone ahead and implemented suggestions like these about changing how to communicate with their customers. Fisker is a startup company in the Internet Age. Yet they seem to be clueless about how to use electronic media like this Forum to improve their image with customers and to remove sales objections raised by prospective buyers. I just dont get it. :huh:
Silicon Valley Culture vs So Cal Culture?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for your replies, everyone. I hope that someone from Fisker has read this thread (an acknowledgment would be terrific!).
 

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kabalah70 said:
Summed up succinctly, I love the car...the company, at the moment, not so much.
Ditto - and I'll caveat my dislike for the Company by saying all they need to do - it is really very simple - is COMMUNICATE proactively with customers. Make us feel special. Give us insight into what's going on, how hard the team is working on all these issues, etc. That's all we ask.

I really do think the Karma is quite possibly the best combination of style, tech and cool I've ever seen in a car - at any price.
 

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EV Driver said:
dennis said:
@drliu - I completely agree with your sentiments, and believe your view represents that of a large portion of Fisker owners and prospects. The recommendations you make for addressing the software issues and improving owner communication are spot on.

What baffles me is why Fisker has not gone ahead and implemented suggestions like these about changing how to communicate with their customers. Fisker is a startup company in the Internet Age. Yet they seem to be clueless about how to use electronic media like this Forum to improve their image with customers and to remove sales objections raised by prospective buyers. I just dont get it. :huh:
Silicon Valley Culture vs So Cal Culture?
My sense is that conflict may be more Silicon Valley v. Old School Car Company culture. There are elements of both within Fisker and there may not be consensus on how much transparency there should be, IMHO. Not really based on any facts, just my sense.
 
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