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Fisker is dead

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Fisker is dead

Fisker filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday night, ending months of speculation about the company’s future. Now the electric vehicle maker is looking to sell its assets and restructure its debt after suspending production of its only car model in March.

For anyone familiar with the Ocean all-electric SUV, the news of Fisker’s bankruptcy may have been predictable. WIRED tested the Fisker Ocean in July 2023 but, due to the obviously unfinished nature of the test car, was left in the unprecedented position of not being able to rate or qualify the electric vehicle. Our Ocean test was plagued by squeaky pedals, an inoperative California mode (where the EV rolls down all windows except the windshield) that forced a mid-test change in the car, and poor handling.

After manufacturing problems and cash flow problems, Fisker admitted during its quarterly results in February that it might not have enough money to survive another year, and decided to pause car production, initially for six weeks. Reports began to claim that he had been considering possible bankruptcy. presentation. Fisker reported that he made $273 million in sales last year, but was more than $1 billion in debt. He also issued a warning that there were “substantial doubts” about his ability to remain in business. He never resumed production.

The company founded by automobile designer Henrik Fisker was looking for a possible lifeboat. This led to negotiations with “a large automaker” to invest, co-develop one or more electric vehicle platforms, and finance their manufacturing in North America.

Such negotiations, reportedly with Nissan, failed to conclude positively, a result noted at the time by Fisker himself when he issued a statement saying that “any transaction would be subject to the satisfaction of important conditions, including the completion of due diligence and the negotiation and execution of definitive agreements “appropriate.” The failure of these talks reportedly led to a funding loss of $350 million.

In filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware, Fisker has estimated assets of $500 million to $1 billion and liabilities of $100 million to $500 million, and its 20 largest creditors include Adobe, Google and SAP.

Fisker’s rapid decline is a far cry from its recent success in 2020, when the company went public at a valuation of $2.9 billion, giving the electric vehicle maker more than $1 billion in cash.

Since then, electric vehicle sales in the United States have slowed more broadly, but Fisker has been especially hard hit. The company lost a degree of quality control when it turned over manufacturing to Canadian supplier Magna, and construction and software issues subsequently arose for its Ocean SUV. Since its launch, the model has been plagued by quality issues, with owners citing sudden power losses, key fob and sensor failures, and even accusations of open hoods.

The Ocean’s myriad problems also embarrassingly affected Fisker’s staff, as board member Wendy Greuel lost power on a public road shortly after taking delivery of the electric vehicle. Similarly, according to a cache of internal documents viewed by TechCrunch, Geeta Gupta Fisker, the company’s CFO and COO, and wife of co-founder Henrik Fisker, also experienced a power outage while driving an Ocean.

In fact, Fisker has had a checkered history beyond the Ocean. It’s been more than a decade since his eponymous owner, formerly of BMW, Ford and Aston Martin, last presented a car named after him. He Karmato range extender GT sports car, was chased by issuesincluding a disastrous Consumer Report Test and fires. Fisker Automotive filed for bankruptcy in 2013.

Having initially chosen to operate a direct-to-consumer sales model, Fisker returned to a traditional dealership sales model in January after delivering to customers less than half of the more than 10,000 vehicles it produced last year. Then, in March, the company drastically reduce prices on their Ocean models in a desperate attempt to change inventory.

Yesterday’s bankruptcy filing comes just a year after Fisker launched its Ocean all-electric vehicle to customers.

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