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Mo' Money, Mo' Problems: Fisker Ups The Price of the Karma by $8K

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On: Tue, Dec 28, 2010 at 1:41PM | By: Chris Weiss

Mo' Money, Mo' Problems: Fisker Ups The Price of the Karma by $8K

Here we thought that Fisker was finally over all the adversity and obstacles and ready for Karma launch, and now word of a significant price increase. The price of the Fisker Karma has long been set at $87,900. But now, as the Karma is getting closer and closer to finally launching, Fisker has raised the price by nearly 10 percent. Fisker buyers will now have to fork over an additional $8 grand for their car.

In case math ain't your thing, the base price for the Karma Eco Standard package is now $95,900. The $8,000 price hike follows up on a previous $8,000 price hike: Fisker originally announced pricing of $80,000 at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show. It subsequently upped the price to $87,900 about a year later. And now we're up to $95,900 (Fisker better get this thing on the market soon before it has to raise prices again).

The 11th hour pricing change could be seen as a rookie mistake by a start-up offering its first vehicle (Fisker probably should have waited until the car was ready for production, rather than announcing a price three years ago). However, the hike could prove to be quite significant to the Karma's ultimate success or failure as it inches ever closer to the $110,000 Tesla Roadster. In fact, the range-topping "Eco Chic" package is already knocking loudly on Tesla's back door with a $108,900 price tag.

If I were in the market for an eco-friendly sports car and had been waiting anxiously for the Karma, this latest price hike would definitely have me ordering a Tesla pamphlet. One of the Karma's major advantages was that it brought a combination of performance, styling, luxury, and price. But now that the price has edged ever so much closer, you have to take a good hard look. The Tesla Roadster offers all-out supercar performance, with a 3.7-second 0-to-60 mph time. The Karma, on the other hand, is more of a standard performance car with a near-6-second 0-to-62 mph time. And the Tesla does it in an emissions-free, all-electric package while the Karma lugs along a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine powered by the ever-uncool gasoline. And while range is usually a big factor in comparing electrics vs. hybrids, Tesla advertises 245 miles per charge, which isn't too shabby when compared with the 300 or so miles of the Karma.

Of course, the performance deficit is at least partly because the Karma is a sedan, which means it will appeal more to traditional luxury car drivers that want a high-performance drive and need a practical, everyday car, a market the tiny, two-seat Roadster can't really compete in. But with Tesla's Model S sedan set to launch within the next couple of years, Fisker may have more competition than it can handle. Not only is the Model S an all-electric sport sedan with similar performance to the Karma, it's expected to be priced at around $57,500. That's going to make it tough for the Karma to compete.

Fisker plans to get the Karma to market by April of next year, but we know enough about Fisker's plans to avoid holding our breath. All we know is they had better get it ready soon, because time and competition are making it less and less intriguing by the day. Oh yeah, and the longer the wait, the more likely it will get even more expensive.


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