This year the New York International Auto Show is playing host to a lot of major debuts. Chevrolet is showing off the 2013 Impala and Traverse, Nissan the highly-important Altima and now Fisker is announcing its next model.
Next model, what? They just rolled out the Karma! That may be so, but the company is already looking forward to its next introduction. The teaser is for Nina, and it doesn’t give us much of a clue about what to expect. In fact, it is the most complicated teaser of its type that we have ever seen. Project Nina, as it has been known, is the centerpiece of Fisker’s development efforts. The bulk of Fisker’s Department of Energy funding was meant to go to this car, and it is the reason why Fisker purchased a former General Motors plant in Delaware. Likely, Fisker views New York this as a chance to kit the rest button by generating positive publicity. Things haven’t been going well lately.
First there was news that a skittish (it is an election year, after al….) DOE is unlikely to approve further funding for Project Nina. Then Consumer Reports decided to purchase a Karma, resulting in a slew of negative publicity thanks to its reliability issues. Recently, Chief Executive Officer Henrik Fisker said the company is “viable [and] self-funded.” With Nina 95 percent sourced and developed, they have decided the time is right to show it to the world.
Since 2007, Fisker has raised a total of $870 million from private sources. If the DOE doesn’t step up with funding (to the tune of $337 million) for Nina, they’ll have to find funding from sources. They have a big network, so with a positive response (and hopefully some new orders) at New York, finding it shouldn’t be a problem. Fisker clearly has big aspirations, and Nina is the centerpiece of its plans to be a volume automaker. The Karma was designed to get the company’s foot in the door, much in the way Tesla developed the Roadster. We’ll see if this strategy works out. Given the Karma’s beautiful lines, we’re expecting the Nina to be a styling stunner.