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Elon Musk Sends Parting Words After Tesla Designer Turned Competitor Fisker Declares Bankruptcy for the 2nd Time

Elon Musk and Henrik Fisker have been in a highly publicized dispute since 2008. Today, Fisker declared bankruptcy on his Tesla competitor for the second time. Musk responded to the news, saying, “The natural state of a car company is dead.”

Let's take you back down memory lane for a bit. In 2007, Tesla was a small startup trying to develop and commercialize electric vehicles. At that time, Henrik Fisker and his design studio, Fisker Coachbuild, were the most celebrated automotive design company and individual.

At that time, Tesla contracted Fisker to design a four-door, all-electric performance sedan codenamed White Star that would later evolve to become the Tesla Model S.

However, the next year, Tesla realized that Fisker was launching its own competing performance hybrid sedan called Fisker Karma.

Tesla and Fisker then went on a highly publicized court case, with Tesla accusing Fisker of stealing the company’s trade secrets to launch a competing vehicle.

Tesla also said that the only reason Fisker signed a $800,000 design agreement with Tesla was to look at Tesla’s technology and copy it for the company’s upcoming vehicle.

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Tesla’s lawsuit also alleged that Fisker did a subpar job on the design of the Model S to sabotage the company from within. Tesla CEO Elon Musk even appeared on several media outlets to disparage Henrik Fisker.

At the time, Tesla lost the lawsuit, and Fisker went ahead and launched a hybrid vehicle named the Fisker Karma, which was seen as the main competitor to the Model S in the early 2010s.

However, a few years later, the company was forced to declare bankruptcy and shut down operations due to financial challenges and a series of unfortunate events, including the vehicle’s propensity to catch on fire, which resulted in the loss of over 300 Fisker Karmas stored together.

Now, let's fast-forward to 2023. Fisker once again launched an electric vehicle and debuted the Fisker Ocean. Initial promises of the Fisker Ocean were high, with some even dubbing the all-electric SUV the Tesla Model Y killer.

This time around, the Fisker Ocean seemed it would give Tesla a run for its money; some of the performance specs of the vehicle even surpassed that of the Tesla Model Y. However, the vehicle fell apart once it reached the hands of reviewers.

Tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee, from the popular MKBHD and Autofocus YouTube channels, even dubbed the Fisker Ocean the worst vehicle he has ever reviewed, highlighting several software issues.

In addition to Marques Brownlee, the Fisker Ocean launched what appears to be unanimous criticism by automotive journalists, big and small.

Fisker had already been struggling financially. However, crashing sales and bad reviews dealt the EV maker a death blow, and a few hours ago, Fisker officially declared bankruptcy.

This is unfortunate because the Fisker Ocean had legitimately impressive features, including a beautiful design, a spacious interior, high performance, a rollable rear window, and other neat features.

However, the multiple issues with the vehicle have meant that Fisker is forced to once again close shop on his second electric vehicle company.

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The question now is, how did Elon Musk react to his once arch enemy, the person he has attacked multiple times in public, declaring bankruptcy on a competing electric vehicle company for the second time?

In typical Musk fashion, the Tesla CEO learned of Fisker’s bankruptcy on his X platform after a user posted two headlines, one from Carbuzz written last year reading “2023 Fisker Ocean is a 550 horsepower Tesla Model Y killer” and the second from today reading “Breaking: electric vehicle startup Fisker has officially filed for bankruptcy.”

It’s not clear whether Musk took any pleasure from the second headline. However, the Tesla CEO simply responded to Fisker’s bankruptcy, writing, “The default state of a car company is dead.”

Due to Tesla’s success, several EV startups have sprung up all over the world. However, Musk has always maintained that getting an automaker to profitability is exceedingly difficult.

Musk has even compared reaching profitability on a mass-market vehicle to being as painful as eating glass.

Given Fisker’s second failed attempt to launch a Tesla competitor, Musk had enough ammo to gloat about his rival fall. However, it’s nice to see the Tesla CEO take the high road and keep his comments on the general difficulties of sustaining a profitable car company.

This is the only comment Musk has made about Fisker’s bankruptcy. However, we’ll be sure to keep you posted if we receive further details about this issue.

Until then, visit our site,, regularly for the latest updates.

So, what do you think? Are you surprised to see Fisker declaring bankruptcy for the second time? Also, what do you think of Elon Musk’s response to his former competitor going out of business? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below by clicking the red “Add new comment” button.

Image: Courtesy of Fisker, inc.

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Tinsae Aregay has been following Tesla and the evolution of the EV space daily for several years. He covers everything about Tesla, from the cars to Elon Musk, the energy business, and autonomy. Follow Tinsae on Twitter at @TinsaeAregay for daily Tesla news.