The downfall of Henrik Fisker’s second automotive venture

Henrik Fisker, known for his work as an automotive designer on iconic vehicles such as the Aston Martin V8 and Tesla’s Model S, launched his second automotive startup, Fisker Inc., with high hopes of competing with Tesla in the electric vehicle market. However, mismanagement and cutting corners led to a series of issues that have now put the company on the brink of bankruptcy. In this article, we will delve into the downfall of Fisker Inc. as reported by 27 former and current employees, highlighting the key factors that have contributed to its current predicament.

1. Mismanagement by Husband-Wife Duo
2. Cutting Corners and Compounding Issues
3. Challenges with Sales and Customer Relations
4. Facing the Threat of Bankruptcy
5. Lessons Learned and Future Outlook

Mismanagement by Husband-Wife Duo

Fisker’s downfall can be attributed to the mismanagement by Henrik Fisker and his wife, Geeta Gupta-Fisker, who played key roles in leading the company. While Henrik served as the face of the brand, Gupta-Fisker was heavily involved in decision-making, despite lacking prior experience in the automotive industry. Workers described an environment of disorganization, with unqualified individuals leading major programs and ignoring basic automotive standards. This lack of expertise and oversight contributed to the issues faced by the company.

Cutting Corners and Compounding Issues

Gupta-Fisker’s cost-cutting strategies led to the use of components that did not meet the correct specifications for Fisker’s electric SUV, the Ocean. The decision to opt for cheaper parts, against advice from executives, resulted in various faults in the vehicles, affecting functions such as over-the-air updates. Workers raised concerns about the lack of proper testing and development before the vehicle’s release, as well as identified issues with door handles, key fobs, and seat sensors. These shortcuts led to regulatory investigations and lemon law lawsuits against Fisker.

Challenges with Sales and Customer Relations

Despite initially generating interest with over 65,000 reservations for the Ocean, negative reviews and quality issues resulted in many cancellations, impacting sales. To boost sales, Fisker recruited individuals with no automotive sales experience, leading to a lack of coordination and multiple calls to potential customers. Additionally, issues with parts shortages and misplaced customer payments further exacerbated customer relations, with some receiving vehicles they had not paid for.

Facing the Threat of Bankruptcy

Fisker’s financial woes escalated, with the company warning of potential bankruptcy within the year and its stock being delisted from the NYSE. Layoffs have significantly reduced the workforce, with efforts focused on selling remaining inventory. The company is seeking a buyer or additional investor to avoid a repeat bankruptcy scenario. Workers have expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of accountability from Henrik and Gupta-Fisker, questioning their leadership and decision-making.

Lessons Learned and Future Outlook

The downfall of Fisker Inc. serves as a cautionary tale for EV startups, highlighting the importance of experienced leadership, adherence to quality standards, and effective customer relations. Moving forward, the company must prioritize transparency, accountability, and quality assurance to regain trust and viability in the market. Henrik Fisker’s reputation and the future of the company hinge on finding a sustainable path forward amidst financial challenges and industry competition.

In conclusion, Fisker Inc.’s journey from a promising Tesla rival to the brink of bankruptcy underscores the complexities and challenges of the automotive industry, particularly in the burgeoning EV market. As the company navigates its current crisis, it must address underlying issues, rebuild relationships with customers and stakeholders, and make strategic decisions to secure its future in a competitive landscape.

Share This Article