Preordering cars is all the rage now. Customers get the satisfaction that they’ll be the first to have something and the company gets an interest-free loan from you to keep things going until the car debuts. But preordering a car from a company with an unproven track record is bad, and even worse when you haven’t ever seen the car. But according to Automotive News, Fisker is claiming over 1,000 people have done just that and reserved a vehicle they never set eyes on.
To understand why this is such a risky action, you have to look at Fisker’s history. This isn’t its first go-around. After having a successful automotive design career, Henrik Fisker founded Fisker Automotive in late 2007. The company produced the Fisker Karma. But after burning through $1.4 billion and building just 2,450 Karma’s the company went bankrupt in 2014.
A Chinese company, Wanxiang Group, swooped in and bought all Fisker’s assets for just $149.2 million and continues to make the Karma (now called Karma Revero with its own set of troubles.) under the Karma Automotive name. Just two years after the bankruptcy, Fisker starts his second and current company Fisker Inc.
Now, Fisker has their EV crossover, the Ocean, coming. After its L.A. Auto Show debut in 2021, Fisker claims the Ocean is going into production in November. Its second EV, the Pear isn’t coming until 2024. But the company is already taking $250 reservations for it. Speaking in London, Fisker attempted to explain the reservations off as a way of proving to battery suppliers that they won’t get screwed by some start-up that’s going to go under. Per Automotive News:
Normally, a car company does due diligence of a supplier. Now, the battery makers are actually doing the diligence on the carmakers, and of course also the startups, and saying: ‘Hold on a minute, we need to see the business model, we need to see the car, we need to believe in you.
And that’s the problem, because you see, no one has seen the car. Or at least the public hasn’t. The only glimpse we’ve seen of it is an overhead shot on the company’s reservation page, and that looks to be a render. Fisker claims 1,500 people have reserved the Pear. With a claimed $29,900 starting price, it should attract a lot of people, with 50,000 reservations expected by year’s end. Maybe there will be more details of the car released by then. Just be careful if you’re one of the ones willing to take a leap by reserving a car you’ve never seen, especially from a startup. You (and your money) may get burned.