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Chinese company now sells both Fisker Karma and Tesla Model S based vehicles

Detroit-based VL Automotive, co-founded by the legendary Bob Lutz, is now part of WMGTA, an electric car maker with Chinese connections.


VL Automotive made its name by taking the bodies of Fisker Karma electric vehicles (EVs), removing the troublesome and unreliable electric drive systems, and replacing them with the bullet-proof, and incredibly powerful engine from the Corvette. The unholy creation was known as the VL Destino. VL, co-founded by Detroit legend Bob Lutz, has now merged with a politically-connected company called Green Tech. Automotive (GTA), co-founded by the current governor of Virginia, and former President Clinton operative and appointee, Terry McAuliffe. GTA is a part of “WMGTA” a Chinese company. Interestingly, this company also has a Tesla Model S connection.

In its press release the folks at WMGTA seem to be implying that the real story is not so much a merger as an acquisition by VL Automotive into the WMGTA supercar group. Gilbert Villarreal, co-founder of VL Automotive with Lutz, and now the Co-President and Chief Operating Officer of WMGTA, said “This merger will enable WMGTA to ramp up production of the Destino luxury sports sedan while strengthening WMGTA's electric vehicle division. As a newly formed corporation, WMGTA has proven its practical business strategy and sensible approach to product development. I truly believe in the production of the GTA MyCar as a practical, electric transportation solution for the masses.” Charles Wang, WMGTA President and CEO, said “As we welcome VL Automotive into the WMGTA group of companies, we believe our brand value for elegance, performance, and environmental responsibility is aligned with VL Automotive's pursuit for excellence.” Sure sounds like the folks at WMGTA wanted the Destino and experienced automotive engineer and industrialist Gilbert Villarreal as part of their group.

CarNewsChina recently said that WMGTA will sell a Saleen-tuned Tesla Model S in the Chinese market. If it does, the Fisker Karma and Tesla Model S would at last be found cohabitating in one company’s portfolio. Another Chinese company recently finished buying up the remnants of Fisker as well as the supplier of its batteries.

If you are confused as to why a company that sells cars with Corvette engines as well as cars with electric drive, this explanation from the WMGTA website might help. “The WM division manufactures and distributes energy-efficient super sports cars with internal combustion engines. The GTA division is dedicated to developing and producing environmentally friendly, energy-efficient electric vehicles. Currently the GTA brand products are being manufactured by WMGTA's wholly owned subsidiary GreenTech Automotive Inc. in Mississippi.”

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Main story image courtesy of the VL public website. Smaller Images courtesy of Patrick Rall.


Frank Messier (not verified)    May 7, 2014 - 10:47AM

I'm not sure where you get the idea that the original drivetrain in the Fisker Karma was "troublesome and unreliable". That is far from the truth! I have one and it has worked flawlessly for over 2 years. The electric drivetrain was not the reason for the Karma's troubles. It was many other things, but not the hybrid-electric drive.

John Goreham    May 7, 2014 - 6:29PM

In reply to by Frank Messier (not verified)

Thanks for writing in Frank. Glad to hear the Karma is working well for you. My comments refer to Consumer Reports reliability rating mainly, but also the A123 battery recall issue.
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