Fisker Suspends Its EV Production

Following recent reports that Fisker has been preparing for a possible bankruptcy filing, today the embattled automaker announced that it is suspending all manufacture of its electric vehicles.

“Fisker will pause production for six weeks starting the week of March 18, 2024, to align inventory levels and progress strategic and financing initiatives,” the company said in a statement.

Fisker further said that it has secured a financing commitment from an existing investor of “up to $150 million.” The money would be organized in four tranches, but is by no means guaranteed; Fisker said it is subject to “certain conditions,” including the filing of the company’s 2023 Form 10-K, a comprehensive report filed annually by public companies about their financial performance.

WIRED asked Fisker’s PR representative to expand on what exactly are the “certain conditions” to secure the new investment, they declined to provide additional detail.

EV sales in the US have slowed more broadly, but Fisker has had an especially rocky run. Arguably, it lost a degree of quality control when it ceded manufacturing to Canada-based supplier Magna. Moreover, Fisker seemingly prioritized style over substance, as born out by build and software issues of the Ocean. These issues have fueled the view that in the car world there’s simply no substitute for the experience gained from making vehicles for a century, like, say, BMW has.

Likely looking for a potential lifeboat, Fisker has also confirmed it is in negotiations with “a large automaker” for investment in the company, joint development of one or more electric vehicle platforms, and North America manufacturing. That company is reportedly Nissan, according to Reuters. However, it sounds like these negotiations are far from completion, as the Fisker statement also says “any transaction would be subject to satisfaction of important conditions, including completion of due diligence and negotiation and execution of appropriate definitive agreements.”

WIRED tested the Fisker Ocean in July 2023, but due to the unfinished nature of the test car, was left in the unprecedented position of being unable to provide a rating for the EV. Our test Ocean was plagued with squeaky pedals, an inoperative California mode (where the EV drops all its windows save the windscreen) forcing a switch in car mid-test, and poor handling that was supposedly to be fixed with a software update. Simply put, too many features were missing or “coming soon,” making the Ocean SUV an EV we just couldn’t rate properly.

Since launch, the Ocean has been dogged by quality issues, too, with owners complaining of sudden power losses, glitchy key fobs and sensors, hoods flying open, and brake problems.

Indeed, shortly after Fisker board member Wendy Greuel took delivery of her own Ocean SUV, it lost power on a public road. Similarly, according to a cache of internal documents viewed by TechCrunch, Geeta Gupta Fisker, the company’s chief financial officer, chief operating officer, and Henrik Fisker’s wife, experienced a shutdown in power while driving an Ocean.

Fisker has a checkered history beyond the Ocean. It was more than a decade ago when its eponymous owner, previously of BMW, Ford, and Aston Martin (where he was design director), last presented a car bearing his name. The Karma, a range-extender sports GT, was ahead of its time in many respects, but it was dogged by problems, including a disastrous Consumer Reports test and fires.

The company’s current situation looks bleak. Fisker states it has approximately 4,700 vehicles in its currently inventory, carried over from 2023 and including 2024 production, and believes the completed vehicle value for this inventory is in excess of $200 million. It has delivered 1,300 vehicles in 2024, and shipped 4,900 to customers in 2023.

Last month, Fisker reported that it made $273 million in sales last year, but was more than $1 billion in debt. It also issued a warning that there was “substantial doubt” about its ability to stay in business. The prolonged pause in production seems reinforce that doubt even further.