Would a DeLorean revival really be complete without legal controversy?
To say DeLorean's return to the automotive scene has been tumultuous is an understatement. The revived automaker has had to contend with several legal setbacks in recent years and, not long ago, was the recipient of a scathing attack from the original founder's daughter. Even though the company is promising some delectable-looking electric vehicles, DeLorean's woes are far from over.
According to San Antonio Express-News, DeLorean has been smacked with a lawsuit alleging intellectual property theft. The plaintiff? None other than Karma Automotive, makers of the GS-6 electric sedan. The California-based manufacturer has leveled these accusations against DeLorean CEO Joost de Vries and three other company high-ups, all of whom were once employed by Karma.
As per the petition, the plaintiff claims its former employees were working on a design known as "Project 88," a strategy that aimed to modernize and electrify the '80s DeLorean DMC-12.
Aside from monetary damages, Karma Automotive is asking a Houston Court to intervene and stop DeLorean from using its technology and intellectual property. Furthermore, the lawsuit accuses the defendants of concealing information regarding the DeLorean revival from company officials while they were still in Karma's employ.
DeLorean is yet to publish an official statement on the matter, but CEO Joost de Vries told the Texas-based news agency the vehicle has "a very specific, unique DeLorean lineage that has no relation to Karma Automotive from a design, engineering, supply chain or manufacturing perspective."
He added, "we remain committed to the future of our company."
According to the lawsuit, Karma believes the DeLorean team deliberately withheld information from Karma. One part of the legal filing alleges this was done to keep "Karma from pursuing the project or from finding out what individual defendants were doing."
Elsewhere, the petition claims former Karma employee Alan Yuan (now DeLorean's Chief Operating Officer) contacted de Vries about making the car a reality and negotiating with each other.
This is part of Karma's narrative which believes the four former employees plotted to leave the company after Karma began to question the lack of progress on Project 88. If Karma's allegations turn out to be true, we can say goodbye to the possibility of a DeLorean production car. And that's a shame, as the automaker has shown great promise.
At this point, it's unclear as to whether the technology and intellectual property Karma is talking about have been used in any DeLorean designs and, if so, which one. However, it's the recently revealed Alpha5 EV that is being touted as a spiritual successor to the DMC-12.