We speak with Karma about its exciting (and hopefully bright) future.
Jim Taylor, the Chief Revenue Officer at Karma Automotive, is part of the group of veteran auto executives that gave up a comfortable position at a large car company to work for a smaller one. It could be for the opportunity to make an impact in the world of cars without the slow-moving pace of the auto giants that cover each optimistic project in bureaucratic red tape, but given reports of crying executives at the recent unveiling of the Karma Revero, passion may have something to do with it.
We recently spoke with Taylor about the Revero, the future of the brand, and of course, to see if Justin Beiber has placed an order for the Fisker Karma redo. As it turns out, things might get interesting for Karma as long as it can nail the Revero down right this time. The question on our minds was the same as everyone else’s after realizing that the Revero is basically the same car as the Karma. Why remake the Karma when the first attempt failed? Well, apparently it’s because the Fisker Karma had so much untapped potential. It was only in production from 2011 to 2012 before a handful of battery fires and a recall forced Fisker’s battery supplier out of business after only 1,800 Karmas were delivered.
With an inability to obtain one of its most important components, Fisker stopped selling the Karma and closed its doors. According to Taylor, this meant that Henrik Fisker’s admittedly gorgeous design had not lived up to its full potential. In short, more money was to be made. Now that the car is back bearing the Revero moniker, it has the potential to exploit the gap in demand left by the Karma and if all goes well, turn into another automotive success story. But what is Kamra’s plan? Does it intend to be the next Tesla that spawns save-the-world electric cars or is it an entirely different animal? To imagine Karma Automotive, it’s best to think of Spyker. Unlike Tesla, Karma is not using its electric motors and gasoline backup plan as its central selling point.
Instead, it’s playing on its uniqueness to sell to a crowd that is tired of being one of the rest. The average Revero buyer is someone that is wealthy and collects cars rather than depends on them for transportation. In all likelihood, they have friends with Ferraris, Bentleys, and the like, and they want nothing more than to have the exclusive pick in the batch. “Exclusivity is a big reason that people buy these cars,” said Taylor. “If they pull up to the light and three guys beside them have the same car, it completely defeats the purpose of why they bought this kind of car. That segment is where we’re going to stay for a while.” Now, we enjoy a bespoke car as much as any other gearhead, but that segment isn't exactly the most profitable.
When we asked Taylor about the future of the brand including other Revero variants, full electrification, and the possibility of other models, he mentioned that as a start-up, Karma has to clear this first hurdle (and get it right) before even considering the future. That being said, Taylor did mention that Karma is currently studying what other models make business sense. That way, if the Revero proves to be sustainable for Karma, it would have the option to expand into other ranges. But what about an SUV? According to Taylor, it’s possible. “It’s a large part of the (luxury) segment, it’s popular, and all of our competitors doing it, so that means it’s logical,” says Taylor. “It’s an obvious choice given where the market is going.”
While it may seem odd for a bespoke automaker to go after the high-volume luxury SUV segment, that’s a direction that even Spyker has hinted at taking with its Peking-To-Paris concept. As cool as an SUV would look wearing some variation of the Revero’s design, Karma will be depending on the reception and success of the Fisker Karma’s revamp to move forward on that prospect. With the Revero going on sale in the US, Europe, and China, Karma has at least three strong auto markets that happen to be snapping up luxury cars left and right to support its dreams. For now, all we can do is wish Karma luck.