(( Charlie Turner, BBC Top Gear magazine editor, explained why the Fisker Karma grabbed the number one spot: "Cleverness abounds in the Fisker and adds to the air of intelligent luxury. It works well, it looks good and it must be a genuinely exciting thing to own. It’s the top-of-the-line spec that features no leather, just textiles and reclaimed wood. And it’s more convincing than it sounds, managing to look, feel and smell premium without any cow peel in it at all." ))
Q.) How did that work out for the people who invested in Fiskar ?
A.) No one makes money selling these cars. Fiskar and Tesla are creations of government. They exist because Obama pushed through loans to "stimulate" the economy. He was spending money wildly finding any excuse to juice the economy.
Fiskar is pretty much done. The Govt loan will probably not be repaid.
Tesla is out of cash (again).
The Karma is a performance hybrid - what the European car companies do - a parallel hybrid. A car that could be done conventionally by existing car companies making hybrids. The Karma was also handicapped by their inability to get a decent IC engine from elsewhere and the impossible expense of making and certifying one. It didn't do them any good to have their battery supplier bite the dust either.
The Tesla S was a technical step and a vehicle that existing, especially US, car companies would not make, most could not make. It also has a management team with a more credible record of successful pioneering and invention. While Tesla's is the more radical concept - simply a better high end car enabled by being electric - it's always been the better of the two from a speculator's view.
Tesla also has generated IP and has value from that. Boeing would have done itself a favor by licensing Tesla's patents for battery temp sensing, organization, and control whatever cells they choose for their different requirement. They use no rare earth's in their electric drive, unlike the Prius and other cars which are a real expense.
All in all, Fisker wasn't worth taxpayer funding as not enough novel or game-changing was generated even if they had been successful. Tesla was and at that time venture funding was broken as was finance in general. The Crash was not from a business cycle, but an induced financial one. There is that difficulty with the government being a venture capitalist - there's no VC upside as VC's get from stock. A success will pay back the loan with modest interest. The losers are not compensated for by high gains from winners as in the normal VC model. Usually most VC ventures actually fail, a few win. In normal times it's not a good idea for a government to do VC, just R&D. We have enough problems with crony capitalism as it is. Inevitable crony venture capitalism wouldn't be welcome as a normal addition.