#187 Fisker’s Fiasco in Europe

For the longest time, the future seemed bright for Fisker, the US-Danish electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer. A series of models of all types and sizes were developed, production started, and big visions for global sales were announced. It appeared that Tesla would finally get a serious competitor. Internal projections showed that one million Fisker vehicles would be produced between 2022 – 2027 in Europe, the USA, and Asia. As recent as 2022, one of the latest models, the Fisker Ocean made its debut at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and European production started in collaboration with global automotive company Magna in Austria’s automotive manufacturing hub, the city of Graz. In May 2023, the company started to sell its first cars in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and in June, Fisker announced that it would start selling in China, where electric car purchases account for 61 percent of the global market. In the fall of the same year, Fisker started to sell in Canada, and three more European markets – Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. But then, at an event in January 2024, Fisker surprisingly announced that it will shift its global sales strategy from direct sales via their online platforms to a dealer-focused model. The move was an early indication that something was not working well, and only a few months later the Fisker bubble burst. In May 2024, Fisker informed the Austrian authorities that it would file for the equivalent to a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States. Fisker Austria, a company that managed production and sales, had amassed a deficit of more than EUR 1.3 billion in its short time in the Alpine republic, with only 10,000 of the projected 40,000 cars produced in 2024. Fisker’s manufacturing partner, Magna, immediately laid off 500 highly skilled automotive production workers. It appears that the failure was mostly due to lagging sales as Europeans rejected Fisker’s online sales strategy. When shopping around for high-priced goods, especially such innovations as EVs, most European consumers still prefer traditional sales, where they can speak with qualified sales people, satisfy their needs for detailed information, and  literally kick the tires – pun intended. In a time when – as one newspaper cynically reported – Fisker as a company is now worth less than the founder and CEO’s mansion, it’ll be interesting to see what the next months will bring for Fisker and its global ambitions.

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