Fisker CEO: Karma Sedan Shut Down To Protect Itself image

Last week, Consumer Reports said that a Karma sedan that they purchased for $107,850 died completely during speed calibration testing.

Now, Fisker is trying to counter the bad publicity through a letter sent to customers by its newly appointed CEO and former executive at General Motors and Chrysler, Tom LaSorda.

“The Karma performed exactly as it was designed to,” Tom LaSorda said in a letter sent to customers.

“The onboard diagnostics detected a fault and entered a protection mode that shut the car down to protect other components. We are sorry for the inconvenience this caused the customer.”

Fisker spokesman Roger Ormisher says the car’s fault codes pointed to “the cable that goes to the battery, and the battery pack itself.” He says that Fisker is “analyzing whether it was the cable, or something internal to the battery, or it could be a software issue. ”

Late last year, Fisker recalled 239 Karmas to fix a flaw related to battery packs supplied by A123 Systems. It has delivered about 500 of the cars to customers mainly in the U.S. and produced about 2,000, said Roger Ormisher, a company spokesman.

Last month Fisker Automotive has laid off workers as it tries to unlock more of the $529 million Department of Energy loan it’s using to produce its vehicles.

The layoffs include 26 workers at a former General Motors plant in Wilmington that Fisker is retooling to manufacture its Nina plug-in hybrid sedan. Another 40 contractors and employees who were working in design and development of Fisker’s Karma luxury car in Anaheim, Calif., also have been cut.