Fisker Automotive mulls a Karma comeback for 2015

Fisker Automotive's new Chinese ownership wants to have the Karma back on the road by the middle of next year. After its embarrassing bankruptcy, can Fisker be a success the second time around?

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    Fisker Automotive's Fisker Karma, a sports luxury plug-in hybrid car at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles. Fisker's new ownership is readying plans to put its Karma back on the road by the middle of next year.
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The embers of life still glow at Fisker Automotive, as the company readies plans to put its Karma back on the road by the middle of next year.

With a new owner and new company president, hope has been renewed that the striking Karma and its stillborn stablemates would return, but Fisker still needs to make some important decisions before it goes anywhere.

Not least, whether Fisker will keep the company name.

Speaking to Orange County Register, Fisker president Roger Brown described the cars themselves as "the rock stars", and doesn't know whether the firm will keep Fisker Automotive as the company name.

For some, Fisker will be indelibly tarnished with its failures, rather than its products--so perhaps a new name isn't such a bad move.

That's just one of the company's decisions, however. Fisker must also find a new headquarters, decide whether the cars are to be produced, and who it should hire to get the job done.

Currently, Brown is one of only 25 staff at Fisker, following the layoff of 150 employees last year. The company is still searching for a permanent CEO--apparently decided in the next 90 days--but the company also needs 200 other staff for various Fisker projects.

One possibility is hiring back prior employees. If any bad blood lingers, it isn't showing--the company has apparently been "flooded" with people who want to come back.

Another unconfirmed factor is where Fisker will build its cars--the Karma first, then the Surf and potentially, the smaller Atlantic. These would return in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

Fisker still owns a plant in Delaware, but production here is by no means confirmed. The firm is also still in temporary headquarters in Costa Mesa, where it moved from Anaheim following the bankruptcy hearing.

Now owned by Chinese auto parts company Wanxiang, Fisker does at least have a solid base behind it. And Wanxiang is apparently concerned only with turning Fisker into "a great car company".

There are plenty of factors pending, then--but Chinese money, an appealing core product and the benefit of hindsight could give Fisker a better chance this time around.

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