Fisker Hits the Brakes: EV Maker Latest To File For Bankruptcy

American electric vehicle startup Fisker (NYSE: FSR) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a Delaware federal court late Monday, citing market and macroeconomic challenges that have significantly impacted its operations. The move comes as the company attempts to sell its assets and restructure its debts.

Founded by automotive designer Henrik Fisker, who previously worked with BMW and Aston Martin, Fisker struggled to achieve commercial success despite receiving critical acclaim for its vehicle designs. This marks the second time Henrik Fisker has faced bankruptcy with an EV company, following the 2013 collapse of Fisker Automotive.

In the Chapter 11 filing, Fisker Group Inc. listed assets between $500 million and $1 billion and liabilities ranging from $100 million to $500 million. Among its 20 largest creditors are Adobe, Google, and SAP, highlighting the extent of its financial obligations.

Fisker’s journey has been fraught with difficulties common in the EV sector, including fluctuating demand, supply chain disruptions, and intense competition. The company faced significant issues with its flagship Ocean SUV, which was produced in collaboration with contract manufacturer Magna in Austria. Fisker’s unique production strategy aimed at reducing costs and speeding up market entry, but it struggled with software and hardware problems. Notably, Consumer Reports referred to the vehicle as “unfinished business” due to its numerous issues.

Initially adopting a direct-to-consumer sales model, Fisker later transitioned to working with dealerships in North America and Europe. However, this strategic shift failed to generate the expected sales volumes. By the end of 2023, Fisker had delivered fewer than 5,000 vehicles, well short of its targets.

Earlier this month, Fisker recalled over 18,000 vehicles due to software faults and compliance issues. This recall compounded the company’s woes, adding to the challenges posed by quality concerns and regulatory scrutiny. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also launched an investigation into the Ocean SUV for problems related to braking and door functionality.

Fisker’s bankruptcy adds to a growing list of EV startups that have struggled to maintain viability. Companies like Lordstown Motors and Electric Last Mile Solutions have also filed for bankruptcy in recent years, underscoring the volatility in the EV market.

Garrett Nelson, Vice President and Equity Analyst at CFRA Research, commented, “Fisker has been on life support for months now, so today’s announcement doesn’t come as a surprise. It wasn’t the first EV upstart to declare bankruptcy and we don’t think it’ll be the last.”

As Fisker navigates bankruptcy proceedings, it plans to maintain its manufacturing pause while seeking to sell its assets.

Information for this story was found via Axios, Reuters, Slash Gear, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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