The Word: “Disrupt”
“We are aiming to disrupt the automotive industry by challenging all conventions, development time, manufacturing scale-up, customer ownership experience, vehicle financing and service. This is no small feat, but we truly believe we are entering a new era where customers are driving the demand for radical change. People want mobility as a service, delivered through exciting, affordable vehicles with a hassle-free experience. We have delivered the Fisker Ocean in record time: not just another show vehicle, but a drivable production-intent prototype sitting on a fully engineered and durability tested platform, with a production-ready powertrain and battery pack. The future is about delivering product value, sustainability and a unique customer experience.”—Henrik Fisker, chairman and CEO, Fisker Inc.
Yes, it looks like an SUV. (Images: Fisker)
Let’s be clear. Fisker is talking about an electric SUV. An attractive electric SUV. But somehow not something that is completely revolutionary by any stretch of the imagination. The Fisker Karma—the original hybrid vehicle circa 2012, which was produced by Fisker Automotive which filed for Chapter 11 in 2013—was an elegant, attractive luxury sedan.
One of the features that is touted about the Fisker Ocean is that it has a “California Mode,” which lowers all of the side and even backlight to retract with the push of one button.
Then there is what is called an “unprecedented flexible lease model.” Reserve a car (production planned for Q4 2021, deliveries in 2022) then have the ability to lease for $379 per month—with a $2,999 down payment. Economical, though the car has a projected starting price of $37,499.
What Is the Point?
Look. The industry is undergoing disruption. Of that there can be little doubt.
But somehow introducing a new vehicle that, well, is essentially a metal box—stylish though it may be—on four wheels isn’t exactly the stuff of transformation.
Although the term “continuous improvement” is generally associated with another company, Honda is certainly pursuing that approach, as is evidenced by the Accord, which is now in its ninth generation.
Although the RAV4 has plenty of heritage in the small crossover segment, competition has gotten a whole lot tougher, so Toyota has made significant changes to the fourth-generation model.
Once the playground of exotic car makers, the definition of a niche vehicle has expanded to include image vehicles for mainstream OEMs, and specialist models produced on high-volume platforms.