- Henrik Fisker is back in the car business with a new company, Fisker, Inc., and a new kind of business model.
- Fisker aims to capture the imaginations of younger customers who aren’t hung up on horsepower.
- The company intends to offer a “flexible leasing” option for its Ocean SUV when the vehicle arrives in 2022.
- A “new generation of buyers has a different view of mobility,” Fisker told Business Insider.
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Henrik Fisker is back, but he isn’t on his second act. With his eponymous new company, he’s on his fourth, and maybe his fifth, incarnation. And he has a plan for changing how everyone, but especially younger people, get around.
The 57-year-old, Danish-born Fisker was famous in the auto industry before he was famous outside of it. Stints at BMW, Aston Martin, and later with his own custom coachbuilding firm were mere warm ups for the main event: Fisker Automotive, the high-end purveyor of hybrid-gas-electric vehicles, that he founded in 2007.
Fisker Automotive, with its rather gorgeous Fisker Karma sedan, stole thunder from Tesla and CEO Elon Musk in 2011 when the Karma hit the market and captured the attention of Hollywood celebrities and the automotive media. But a combination of battery-supplier A123’s bankruptcy, the loss of 300 cars during Hurricane Sandy, and other missteps and misfortune led to Chapter 11 in 2013.
The comeback kid
Fisker bounced back, partnering with veteran industry executive Bob Lutz and engineer Gilbert Villarreal to launch VLF Automotive and an over-the-top supercar, the Force 1 V10, while keeping his irons in several design fires, ranging from consumer products to yachts. But that was mere thumb-twiddling, time-biding for the main event: Fisker Inc., which debuted in 2016.
Fisker’s tireless efforts, particularly on social media, to promote his new car company were starting to look like an end in and of themselves until this year, when the carmaker merged with a blank-check fund, backed by giant private-equity firm Apollo, and listed on the New York Stock Exchange at a nearly $3 billion valuation, with $1 billion in the bank to build its Ocean SUV and commence deliveries in 2021.
For someone who has created some of the most memorable vehicles on four wheels — the Aston Martin DB9, the BMW Z8 — Fisker sounds as though he’s thoroughly over the idea that a car should be an object of desire. For him, younger people aren’t interested in horsepower and stick-shifts. They crave connectivity and flexibility.
“What we’ve thought about is, ‘How are people going to love a Fisker?'” he said in an interview. “And how are we going to interact with potential customers?”
He added that a