Troubled luxury hybrid automaker Fisker is announcing yet another recall. Nineteen of its uber-expensive Karmas are being sent back to the dealership for an improperly installed coolant hose in the battery pack. Last December, 239 Karmas were recalled for the same issue.
The automaker says it will pick up the cars from the owners and return them fixed, free of charge. That isn’t because the $103,000 luxury car owners deserve luxury service, however. Actually, it is because the cars could be unsafe to drive.
Streak of bad karma
Fisker, the Delaware-based luxury EV startup, has had a string of bad karma since its launch in 2009. It suffered setbacks in its DOE federal loans when it failed to meet certain production milestones. Then it came under fire from Mitt Romney on the campaign trail, criticizing those loans.
It was also blamed for a May garage fire in Texas that is still under investigation. Lynda Tran, a spokeswoman for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, wrote:
“The agency will continue to monitor the situation and will take appropriate action as warranted.”
The 19 Karmas targeted in this latest round of recalls were all assembled between September 2011 and January 2012. Ten of the targeted cars have already been sold. The automaker says those owners should not charge up or drive their Karmas. One assumes that is to avoid any potential overheating and engine fires. And in Fisker’s case, to avoid potential lawsuits.
The issue stems from a hose clamp, improperly installed, that could allow coolant to leak from the lithium-ion-battery pack.
Fisker said, in December:
“If coolant enters the battery compartment an electrical short could possibly occur, causing a thermal event within the battery, including a possible fire in the worse case.”
Fisker was also quick to point out that its recall measures are all preemptive. It said in a report:
“There have been no verified claims, complaints or reports of any kind related to this issue.”
According to the automaker, the maker of the battery packs, A123 Systems, said in May that more faulty units may have slipped by and would possibly prompt later recalls. Fisker wants the public to know that the announced recall is not a new one, as was implied in a blog post Monday on the Wall Street Journal’s site, but is an expansion of one implemented late last year.