Fisker Automotive reborn as Elux; Karma launch delayed, report says

Failed electric car startup Fisker was bought out by a Chinese company last year. Now, reports say, the company's long-awaited electric vehicle will be sold under a new brand called Elux. 

Damian Dovarganes/AP/File
The Fisker Karma, a sports luxury plugin hybrid, on display in 2010. Now under new ownership, the Fisker brand is being repackaged as Elux, and the Karma will be delayed until next year, according to reports.

After buying the rights to failed electric car startup Fisker Automotive in early 2014, China’s Wanxiang was confident production of Fisker’s only model, the extended-range electric sedan known as the Karma, would be relaunched by as early as 2015. That isn’t likely to happen, according to a new report out this week.

Reuters, citing two sources familiar with the matter, reports that the Karma now isn’t likely to be relaunched until mid-2016 and that it will be sold under a new brand called Elux. Production of the Karma is also likely to be moved from the car’s previoushome in Finland (production was outsourced to independent manufacturer Valmet) but a new location is yet to be decided.

The sources also revealed that Wanxiang will likely reprice its Karma to around $135,000, which is about 20 percent higher than the final price the car had when it was last sold. There are likely to be some other significant changes, particularly in the area of battery technology as the Karma’s original battery from A123 Systems, also purchased by Wanxiang after bankruptcy, proved problematic. Battery technology has also improved since the time of the Karma’s development.

It emerged last year that Wanxiang may not have the rights to the Fisker brand name and logo, as those weren’t owned by Fisker Automotive but Fisker Coachbuild, an earlier company started by Fisker co-founder and namesake Henrik Fisker. This could be why Wanxiang will allegedly sell the Karma under the Elux brand, though it could also be that the new owner wants to dissociate the Karma from any negativity surrounding the Fisker name.

At the same time, auto industry veteran Bob Lutz still has plans to proceed with building V-8-powered Karmas that last we heard will be sold as a Destino under the WM brand.

Stay tuned for an update.

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