Elon Musk

Tesla CEO calls Fisker Karma "mediocre" and "cramped"

Tesla CEO Elon Musk did not mince words in his recent interview with Automobile Magazine.

Less than a week after a Fisker Karma caught fire in a grocery store parking lot, the luxury plug-in hybrid manufacturer is catching heat from competitor Tesla Motors, a luxury electric car company. In particular, it is Tesla CEO Elon Musk doing the mud slinging. In a new interview with Automobile Magazine, the billionaire CEO took some major shots at Henrik Fisker and his Anaheim, California-based car company.

Much of Musk’s criticism was aimed at the Fisker Karma, a rival to the Tesla Model S. “It’s a mediocre product at a high price,” said Musk. “The car looks very big, and yet it has no trunk space and is very cramped inside, particularly in the rear seats,” he added.

Musk also took time to level some several allegations against Henrik Fisker, who once worked as a designer for Tesla. “We were paying someone to do styling for his own car,” claims Musk. In 2008, Musk unsuccessfully sued Fisker, claiming he was under contract with Tesla while he was developing the Karma.

Furthermore, Tesla's CEO critiqued Fisker as a designer, arguing that he opts for style over substance. “[Fisker] thinks the most important thing in the world — or the only important thing in the world — is design, so he outsourced the engineering and manufacturing. But the fact is…that’s the crux of the problem. And he’s outsourcing to people who don’t know how to solve the problem.”

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Whether Musk’s assessment of Fisker does any damage remains to be seen, but the car company does appear to be an easy target as of late. Not only did a Karma ignite in a parking lot last week, but another Karma model caught fire in an owner’s garage back in May. In late 2011, Fisker recalled 239 vehicles due to coolant leak concerns, which may lead to fires. The automaker added 19 Karmas to the safety recall in June.

As for Tesla, it too has experienced it share of setbacks. In fact, Tesla recalled 345 Roadsters in May 2009 over rear hub issues. The automaker issued a second recall in 2010, which affected 439 Roadsters. This time around the safety recall was due to faulty 12V low-voltage auxiliary cables, which provide power to the car’s headlamps, tail lights, hazard lights, and turn signals.

Aside from co-founding Tesla, Musk is the founder of SpaceX, a space transport company, and co-founder of the online money transfer site Paypal.

Comments

Tesla never fully digested Fisker was working on the Karma while working with them. Although, it's true, the Karma feels cramped compared to the Model S, it's a nice car but it doe NOT compete against the Model S. The Model S is only electric, the Karma is a plug-in hybrid. Mud slinging is so last century. There really is no need for it anymore. Get on with the work and do your best!
I find it bizarre that a man who built and sold the Tesla roadster, which may hold the record as the most cramped car on the road, would criticize a car for being cramped. And when has anyone ever criticized a car for "looking big." ? What the Karma looks like is a beautifully styled vehicle, something I can't say about either of the two Tesla cars Musk has produced (what slop artist designed the front grill of the Model S?).
And when has anyone ever criticized a car for "looking big." ? Seriously, you've never hear anything bad uttered about a Hummer, Navigator or Expedition? they don't exactly scream tactful efficiency.
And when has anyone ever criticized a car for "looking big." ? Seriously, you've never hear anything bad uttered about a Hummer, Navigator or Expedition? they don't exactly scream tactful efficiency.
Tesla didn't design the body or cab of the Roadster they simply bought Lotus bodies and repowered them as a proof of concept body and "low cost" way to develop the expertise and real world experience prior to the far more expensive exercise of developing and building their own ground-up vehicle. Their ground-up vehicle is being widely and independently praised for its almost immense interior and baggage space which far outstrips the space available in similarly sized vehicles due to its skateboard and axle motor design meaning no engine, drivetrain or fuel tank encroaches into the body of the vehicle. So levelling criticism at Tesla for the body of a vehicle they didn't design when their own design so out clearly performs anything else available on internal space seems a little bizarre. As far as styling goes obviously everyone has a different aesthetic and it's very opinion based but a flick through the reviews reveals that most are quite taken with the styling of the S with its Aston Martinesque lines.
I agree with Nicolas. Besides, you'd think Elon might be a little biased!!!