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Fisker gets a rare second chance to build his own car company

Perhaps the biggest lesson from the Karma debacle, Fisker told me, involves money.

“We learned to raise enough money for your entire first program, to get it to market, because you never know when the [money] market is going to be closed. This time, we really decided that when we were ready, we needed to raise at least $1 billion, which we did.”

Constantly pitching investors and waiting on funding badly impacted every aspect of the development of the Karma, he said.

“You saw, with both Tesla and Fisker, at the time it was always stop-go, stop-go,” he said. “And that is detrimental to the team, adds costs to the project and annoys investors because you are late.”

Another lesson: Bad quality will doom a startup.

Unlike Fisker’s deal with Valmet Automotive, which built the Karma in Finland, Magna, Fisker says, is taking responsibility for much of the Ocean’s product development. Magna, he says, will be sourcing and testing many of the parts used to assemble the Ocean. To keep costs down, Fisker said the Ocean will be made with as many off-the-shelf components from Tier 1 suppliers as possible.

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