Thanks to some Corvette transfusions and the support of former General Motors’ vice chairman Bob Lutz, the beleaguered Fisker Karma will apparently live on.
Fisker sold about 1,800 Karmas before having to shut down in November 2012 when the company ran out of money and couldn’t make loan payments to the Department of Energy.
VL Automotive, backed by Lutz, plans to use two different Corvette engines to convert 25 unsold Karmas from hybrid power.
The plans had been put on hold until VL was able to successfully settle an argument with an Asian investor that had kept VL from accessing codes to run the Karma’s infotainment system.
“Without getting those codes, it was close to impossible to get a working car,” Lutz said.
The new Karma, to be known as the Destino, will look basically the same, though it will reportedly have a more conservative grille and a few other minor cosmetic changes.
The company plans to offer two versions of Corvette engines, a base 450-hp direct-injected V8 and an optional 638-hp supercharged V8.
Lutz says the goal for the VL engineers is to make the Destino as smooth as possible, especially since it will cost approximately $200,000.
“It’s going to take time. I don’t want a rough car that’s hard to drive with a bad transmission and high noise levels. At close to $200,000, these things are going to have to be silky and buttery to drive. The sound and feel have to be just right,” Lutz said.
Potential customers will have a chance to see the revised cars (a sedan and one other body style) in January at the Detroit auto show, and Lutz hopes to have cars in customers’ hands by the middle of next year.
Lutz is also confident that VL can keep making Destinos after it sells the first 25 cars because it has secured a source of body panels and gliders, which are cars already assembled but with no drivetrain.
VL also plans to offer the conversion to current Karma owners at a cost of $100,000, if their cars are in pristine condition.
Here are some photos of the VL Destino from the 2013 North American International Auto Show:
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