Close to 2,000 buyers took a chance on the six-figure Fisker Karma hybrid when the startup competed with a fledgling Tesla 10 years ago. Fisker ended production within two years of the Karma’s launch, leaving owners with a lot of electrical problems and little support.
Post bankruptcy, the company has been rechristened as Karma Automotive and, with a Chinese billionaire at the helm, will launch in the coming months the Karma Revero, an improved version of the original model. But whom is it for?
Probably someone who has a Maserati or an Aston Martin – or both – already in the garage, according to Karma executives. The hypothetical customer’s five- or six-car stable likely includes an SUV, an executive sedan, an exotic, “and maybe a convertible,” said Carl Jenkins, senior vice president and vehicle line engineer.
Though about 70% of the company’s customers own an iPhone, they don’t want their Karma to be “an iPad on wheels.” Rather, this is a car for people who eschew connectivity and autonomous features in favor of design and driving. But first and foremost, the low-volume sedan will appeal to people who appreciate exclusivity. “That’s a big part of the mindset of the super-elite,” said Jim Taylor , chief revenue officer. “It’s ‘I have to have something you don’t have.’”
Though the Revero has been positioned in the media as an alternative to its one-time competitor, there is only a “small intersection” among customers of the all-electric Model S sedan, according to Taylor.
Said Alex Klatt, vice president of global design, “The Revero just has a different appeal.”