July 25, 2024
Industry News

The downfall of Henrik Fisker’s second automotive venture

Henrik Fisker and Geeta Gupta-Fisker mismanaged Fisker to the edge of bankruptcy, former and current workers told Business Insider.Araya Doheny/Patrick Fallon/Getty Images; Jenny Chang-Rodriguez/BI
  • Henrik Fisker’s second automotive startup is on the brink of bankruptcy.
  • Mismanagement and cutting corners led to compounding problems at Fisker, according to former and current workers.
  • Business Insider interviewed 27 former and current Fisker staff to understand the startup’s downfall.

Fisker’s staff faced chaos as they tried to deliver the company’s first batch of electric cars to U.S. customers. Henrik Fisker’s SUV, the Ocean, had been in development for four years but was not yet ready for delivery.

As the June 2023 event approached, Fisker employees struggled to fix faulty parts on multiple EVs set for delivery, even resorting to stripping parts from the CEO and CFO’s personal vehicles, including door handles and seat sensors, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Subsequently, board member Wendy Gruel’s Ocean SUV experienced a shutdown while driving, followed by a similar incident with Geeta Gupta-Fisker’s vehicle, causing concerns among workers.

While a Fisker spokesperson denied the use of parts from pre-production vehicles for customer cars and downplayed the incidents, it was clear that problems were arising early on in the company’s journey.

Henrik Fisker, a renowned automotive designer, aimed to differentiate his second startup by outsourcing production and targeting the mid-market EV segment. Despite going public in 2020 with high market value, Fisker Inc. now faces significant challenges.

Several EV startups, including Fisker, have struggled to compete with Tesla, facing production and market obstacles in the electric vehicle industry.

Workers at Fisker pointed to mismanagement by Henrik and Geeta Gupta-Fisker as key contributors to the company’s issues. Gupta-Fisker’s cost-cutting strategies sometimes resulted in the use of components that did not meet specifications for the Ocean, leading to technical challenges.

Internal reports highlighting the need for further testing and development of the product were ignored as the company focused on a speedy market release, leading to long-term issues.

With over-the-air updates and regulatory investigations, Fisker’s problems continued to mount post-release, impacting customer experience.

As Fisker grappled with repairing vehicles and processing warranty claims, inadequacies in the system led to challenges in tracking repairs and parts usage.

Furthermore, a shortage of after-sales parts forced workers to source components from various sources, including stripping parts from test vehicles and resorting to unconventional methods to avoid import fees.

Negative reviews, dwindling demand, and operational inefficiencies have further jeopardized Fisker’s position in the market, with the company facing the threat of bankruptcy and lay-offs.

Despite ongoing efforts to sell remaining inventory and explore restructuring options, Fisker’s future remains uncertain.


  1. What led to Fisker’s downfall?
  2. How did mismanagement contribute to Fisker’s challenges?
  3. What were some of the operational issues faced by Fisker post-release?
  4. What is the current status of Fisker’s workforce and financial position?


Fisker’s journey from a promising EV startup to the brink of bankruptcy reflects the challenges faced by new entrants in the competitive electric vehicle market. Mismanagement, operational inefficiencies, and a series of setbacks have strained the company’s resources and reputation. As Fisker navigates a critical juncture in its existence, the road ahead remains uncertain, with the company’s fate hinging on strategic decisions and potential restructuring efforts.

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