January 16, 2021

trips



Henrik Fisker sitting in a car: "A lot of young people don't want to borrow $40-50,000 to buy a car, and they want to be able to give their car back after a year or two if they don't want or need it anymore," Henrik Fisker says. Phil McCarten/Reuters; Samantha Lee/Business Insider


© Phil McCarten/Reuters; Samantha Lee/Business Insider
“A lot of young people don’t want to borrow $40-50,000 to buy a car, and they want to be able to give their car back after a year or two if they don’t want or need it anymore,” Henrik Fisker says. Phil McCarten/Reuters; Samantha Lee/Business Insider

  • 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.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

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

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  • 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.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

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 “new generation of buyers has a different view of mobility,” noting that their first experience of an automobile was as a passenger on an Uber ride. 

Rethinking the car as an interface — not a lifetime commitment

For these customers, the user interface — shaped by computers, smartphones, and gaming systems —

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A worker places tires on bicycle wheels at the Golden Wheel Group factory in Tianjin. [Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily]

BEIJING – China’s bicycle exports have seen strong gains as COVID-19 precautions have prompted people worldwide to turn to cycling and using electric bicycles for short journeys.

From January to September, China exported 41.66 million bikes, an increase of 3.9 percent year-on-year, with the volume expanding 12 percent over the same period last year to $2.43 billion, according to data from the China Bicycle Association.

The bicycle industry saw orders plummet and production slacken in the first half of this year due to the epidemic, but has recovered lost ground since June with the bike outputs of some firms tripling from pre-epidemic levels.

The association expects the bicycle industry to see its combined revenues surpass 360 billion yuan ($54.78 billion) in 2020, up 10 percent year-on-year, and maintain robust growth momentum in overseas markets such as Europe, the United States and Southeast Asia.

According to Erhard Buchel, president of the Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry, European imports of bikes, electric bikes and parts from China amounted to 1 billion euros ($1.19 billion) in 2016, increased to 1.5 billion euros in 2019, and are expected to near 2 billion euros in 2020.

The bicycle industry should seize the new opportunities of surging bike imports in the European Union and the new market demand trend in countries along the Belt and Road, said Zhang Chonghe, head of the China National Light Industry Council.

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