Despite Setbacks, is Fisker Positioning to Go Public?
I can see it now. Leonardo DiCaprio, famed actor of the epic movie “Titanic”, bringing his star power to a Fisker IPO roadshow which seems a likely event some time in 2013. DiCaprio, a known advocate for clean energy and an active trustee of the Natural Resource Defense Council Action Fund, recently put his money where his mouth is by becoming an equity investor in struggling carmaker Fisker.
Although DiCaprio’s undisclosed investment in Fisker has made headlines the world over, this is real-life so execution is key for Fisker. If the company can’t execute its business plan on time and deliver safe vehicles, not even all the movie magic in the world from an acclaimed director like James Cameron could make Fisker look more attractive to investors if the automaker decided to go public next year.
Over the weekend we heard about a Fisker Karma vehicle catching fire in Woodside California. This recent incident follows a similar occurrence seen in Sugar Land, Texas this May. Despite Fisker first saying the fires were not caused by any issue with the unique EV powertrain, the company recalled 2,400 Karmas due a faulty cooling fan (Note: coolant leaks also caused the company to recall the initial 240 Karma vehicles back in December). The gloomy news for Fisker just won’t go away. The company had issues earlier this year with its outsourced battery produced by A123 Systems. Then there was the US Department of Energy (DOE) pulling $390mln of the $529mln loan guarantees to Fisker for failing to meet certain deadlines for its Karma launch and concerns about the company’s business plan. Let’s not forget a Fisker Karma vehicle broke down during a Consumer Reports testing.
No doubt this car company has had anything BUT good Karma since its inception; however, better times could still be ahead for Fisker. DiCaprio investing in Fisker and helping with marketing and promotion may foster some good karma to the company. Bringing in Tony Posawatz, who oversaw the development of the Chevy Volt, looks to be a great move for Fisker, a company that has played musical chairs with two previous CEOs this year. Posawatz, who is known in the industry for product and market innovation related to electrification of the automobile, has the resume investors may gravitate to. That means Fisker appears poised to gain something sorely missing from its ranks, PERMANENT LEADERSHIP. Posawatz knows how to bring award-winning products (i.e. Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Avalanche and the Chevrolet Volt) to market and that is a much needed shot of confidence for Fisker employees, supporters and investors.Continued on the next page