EV startup Fisker struggling to meet internal sales goals, documents show

Fisker remains far from meeting CEO and founder Henrik Fisker’s publicly stated goal of delivering 300 electric SUVs per day globally, according to internal documents viewed by TechCrunch.

The EV startup spent much of December aiming to meet an internal sales goal of between 100 and 200 vehicles a day in North America, where the bulk of its inventory and sales efforts are. Fisker fell well below that target, often selling just one to two dozen of its Ocean SUVs a day here, according to the documents, which were provided by a source who was granted anonymity due to the sensitivity of the information.

Fisker is delivering its SUVs in a number of European countries, and contract manufacturer Magna Steyr builds them in Austria. However, the North American market has been the startup’s priority from the beginning. The company did not respond to a request for comment.

The internal figures help explain why the company announced Thursday that it’s looking to partner with dealerships to sell its all-electric Ocean SUV in the U.S. — a change in strategy from the direct-sales-only model that Fisker had championed since going public in 2020. The documents also clash with the company’s continued assurances of “increasing demand,” which it claimed in Thursday’s press release.

The startup had plans to open showrooms across North America as part of its direct sales model, but has only opened two of its flagship “Fisker Lounges” to date. Henrik Fisker told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday that the lack of a physical footprint has harmed sales here.

Fisker is not alone in struggling to find demand for its EVs. Establishing a brand and carving out market share has been a challenge for every new entrant to the market. Lucid in particular has admitted, repeatedly, that its biggest hurdle after entering production has been marketing its luxury sedan. Even Rivian’s deliveries slipped 10% in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Fisker previously claimed it shipped more than 1,200 SUVs worldwide in October, and on November 16 said it set a “new milestone” of 107 deliveries in a day, attributing the success to “executing a new distribution strategy.” But it has struggled to maintain or meet that pace through December, the documents show.

The slow pace of deliveries has widened the gulf between the amount of Fisker Ocean SUVs being produced by Magna and the number sold. On Friday, Fisker revealed that Magna built 10,142 Oceans last year and only delivered roughly 4,700.

Magna began production in November 2022 and Fisker didn’t start deliveries until June 2023, which also contributed to that gap. Software problems on the earliest cars contributed to the delay; Fisker has also cited trouble with one of its suppliers as a reason for a slower-than-expected rollout.

Fisker entered the year claiming Magna would produce 42,400 Ocean SUVs, though — a number it said it increased in late 2022 due to strong demand in the U.S. and Europe.

That demand has yet to pan out.

Instead, Fisker repeatedly slashed that figure in 2023, ultimately announcing December 1 that Magna would only make around 10,000 total for the year to allow the startup to free up working capital. Even after that considerable drop, Henrik Fisker maintained confidence publicly, saying in a statement that his company was continuing to “accelerate sales and deliveries.”

The company said last week that the “majority” of the 4,700 vehicles sold last year were the top-tier Ocean One trim. The first unit of a more affordable trim, the Ocean Sport, recently shipped to the first customer in the U.K.

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