The world of electric cars, or at least electric cars that are more than half-assed jokes, golf carts with pretensions and pipe dreams of the well meaning, just got a lot more interesting. For those of you that don’t follow this stuff, there’s an electric car company out there called Fisker Automotive. To a certain extent, they are to Tesla what Chevy was to Ford 100 years ago. They are serious, well funded, and aim to have the car you see pictured here, up and running as a viable, every day car for sale to the public. And to show you just how serious they are, Fisker just hired away Maserati’s chief sales and marketing “guy”.
After being head of Maserati North America for less than one year, Marti Eulberg is now vice president of global sales and marketing for Fisker. This dovetails with Fisker’s stated goal of making not just viable, every day electric cars, but luxury electric cars. Eulberg’s will “develop global sales and marketing strategies and manage Fisker’s worldwide retail network.” And just in case you’re wondering, that would be Mizz Eulberg, Marti is not a Finnish guy. She’s got auto industry bona fides falling out of her briefcase, having also worked for Jaguar, Volvo and BMW as well as managing Ford dealerships and interning at General Motors.
Fisker, as is their want, is charting a course quite distinct from its competitor, Tesla. For one thing, Fisker have been stressing the word luxury since day one, and letting the sporting nature of their cars come second. They seem to be aiming their car for eco-conscious well-to-dos, where as Tesla have taken initial aim at people like you and me: Gearheads that want an electric car that hauls ass.
And unlike Tesla, Fisker is not following Tesla down the independent store path. Fisker will license independent dealerships, and will benefit from their expertise with selling expensive vehicles in a given local market.
Is this a better approach, from a sales and marketing perspective? There’s a lot to be said for Tesla, which is sort of taking the Apple store route with their boutique dealerships. Having one of them open in your town is something of an event. On the downside, there it sits, all by its lonesome. And there, sitting over in a corner of the XYZ luxury brand showroom, will be a Fisker one day (if all goes according to plan).
So will that work? Will it drive customers to Fisker, or will it end up being like the time DeTomaso tried to sell Panteras in Ford dealerships in places like Kansas City?