Fans who believed that Fisker Automotive posed a verifiable threat to the operations, sales, and strategy of their beloved Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) were likely relieved when the maker of the Karma plug-in hybrid went south in a rather spectacular fashion, but the story doesn’t end there. The remains of Fisker were picked up by a Chinese firm led by billionaire Lu Guanqiu, who has promised to resume production of the vehicle and, more recently, pledged whatever means necessary to do battle with the world’s most eminent electric car maker, though he didn’t name names.
Wanxiang Group Corp., which bought Fisker, is planning to resume production in the United States and ultimately in China. In his first real sit-down interview since winning the bid for the company in February, Lu didn’t beat around the bush for his aspirations to take on Tesla.
“I’ll put every cent that Wanxiang earns into making electric vehicles,” he told Bloomberg at Wanxiang’s headquarters in Hangzhou. “I’ll burn as much cash as it takes to succeed, or until Wanxiang goes bust.” Wanxiang has the unique advantage of buying the shell of an automaker that comes along with all the developmental research completed or well underway.
“Fisker brings a unique edge and owning the company no doubt benefits Wanxiang in terms of gaining access to technologies that would otherwise take them years to develop,” Harry Chen, an automotive analyst with Guotai Junan Securities, told the news service. “To succeed it ultimately has to start production in China and manufacturing in U.S. is just a stepping stone.”
The Karma, which runs a healthy $103,000, was made in Finland prior to Fisker’s bankruptcy late last year. And while it costs roughly the same as a well-quipped high-end Tesla Model S, there’s the undeniable fact that it still consumes gasoline and still has an array of technical flaws that need ironing out.