You know those days that are just so bad you wish you hadn't even bothered to get out of bed? Well, the folks at Fisker Automotive had one of those recently when their sexy, expensive, award-winning, new sports car died in the parking lot of Consumer Reports before any quality tests could be conducted on it. The Fisker Karma, which is one of the first luxury electric vehicles to come on the market, is a high performance plug-in hybrid. Late last year it was awarded the Luxury Car of the Year Award by the British TV show Top Gear.
Consumer Reports had owned the car, which had less than 200 miles on it, for a few days when they tried to take it out on their test track to begin conducting tests. When they did so, the car flashed an error message and stopped working:
The dashboard flashed a message and sounded a “bing“ showing a major fault. Our technician got the car off the track and put it into Park to go through the owner’s manual to interpret the warning. At that point, the transmission went into Neutral and wouldn’t engage any gear through its electronic shifter except Park and Neutral.
The Consumer Reports people tried a few more things to get the car working but to no avail. It had to be hauled away on a flat bed back to the dealer. As noted on the Consumer Reports blog, "Our Fisker Karma cost us $107,850. It is super sleek, high-tech - and now it's broken."
Consumer Reports magazine, which buys about eighty cars per year, said that this is the first time in recent memory that anyone could recall a car breaking down before they had gone through their check-in process with it. David Champion, Senior Director of Consumer Reports Auto Test Division, told Design News, "This is the first time in decades where we had a car that was undriveable and immovable. It was just stuck in the middle of our car park."