GENEVA – Electric car maker Fisker Automotive has ambitious sales goals. This year, the U.S. start-up company expects to sell "at least 7,000 units" of its first car, the $87,900 Karma hybrid sports car, Chief Operating Officer Bernhard Koehler told Automotive News Europe on the sidelines of the Geneva auto show.
"In 2012 we plan to sell 15,000 units of the Karma," Koehler added.
The Karma will be built in Finland by contract manufacturer Valmet Automotive. Production starts on March 21.
Fisker currently has 3,000 orders for the car, according to Koehler. The first Karmas will be delivered to customers in the United States in July and "some VIPs may get their car as early as June," he said.
Fisker will stage Karma test drive events in the United States and Europe in May.
The Karma will be available at first only as a four-door-version. Koehler said a second Karma variant will be shown at the Frankfurt auto show in September and will be launched in 2012. A third version – the Karma convertible - will be brought to market by early 2013. All Karma variants initially will be built by Valmet.
In late 2012, Fisker's second model line — a family sedan code-named Project Nina — will be built in Fisker's factory in Newport, Delaware, in the U.S. It is expected to sell for about $40,000 after a $7,500 federal tax credit.
Fisker is currently investing $120 million in the Delaware facility and within the next two years will expand headcount at the plant to 1,500 employees. Currently Fisker employs 500 people globally including contractors, Koehler said.
Fisker predicts that Project Nina will ultimately create or support 2,000 factory jobs in Delaware and more than 3,000 vendor and supplier jobs by 2014, as production ramps up to full capacity of 75,000-100,000 vehicles per year.
Fisker also plans to use the Delaware plant as a base for contract manufacturing. The automaker is planning to use one-third of an installed 300,000 units of capacity for its own vehicles. "We want to offer this manufacturing capacity to other automakers," Koehler said.
Fisker may build cars for Valmet in Delaware "if some of Valmet's customers need more capacity in the U.S.," Koehler said.
Fisker may build the next generation of the Karma at the Delaware plant, which it was buying from Motors Liquidation Co. for $18 million. Motor Liquidation is the legal entity disposing of former General Motor Co. assets.