Fisker expands European footprint
California start-up goes into three more markets
Customers will now be able to reserve vehicles from US EV pure play Fisker in the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland, as the firm expands its presence to a total of 10 European national markets.
The deliveries, slated to start at the end of September, will supplement Fisker’s current presence in Germany, the UK, France Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Austria. It will mean the firm is active in 10 of the continent’s 12 largest EV markets based on H1 ’23 new BEV sales, with the only exceptions being Italy, the 8th largest market, and Spain, the 11th. It also sells cars in the US.
And it expects to complete homologation of its Fisker Ocean BEV SUV in Canada by 7 September, estimating most launch-edition Fisker Ocean One deliveries in Canada will be finalised by the end of September. It is looking at a limited release in India in Q4 as well.
“We have strong reservations and a solid bank of orders for the Fisker Ocean in Canada,” says the company’s eponymous CEO Henrik Fisker. "We are especially grateful for the patience of our future Canadian owners as we have ramped up our business in 2023.”
The firm will initially take online orders on country-specific websites in the three additional European markets, but plans to establish retail locations and delivery and service centres in each, concentrating on proximity to major cities. As of Q2 results in early August, it had customer locations open in six of its seven existing European markets, with a French location due by the end of the year.
“Ultimately, we want to sell our vehicles all over the world,” says Fisker. “But creating a strong early presence in Europe has always been one of our highest priorities.”
Canada will see a similar model, with the firm intending to establish retail and service locations in both Vancouver and Toronto, as well as Fisker-certified collision repair centres. It will also provide comprehensive sales and service support in Canada, including mobile service with Fisker-trained technicians, and consumer financing through Scotiabank, Fisker’s nominated retail financing partner.
Fisker’s current offering is the Ocean, which it began producing in Q2. The vehicle comes the basic Ocean One or Extreme trim, while Fisker is currently working through the homologation process for the Ultra and Sport trims. It aims to produce 20,000-23,000 Oceans in 2023 as a whole.
But potentially more interesting will be the opportunity for European customers to reserve a Fisker Pear, a crossover aimed at city-dwellers that the firm aims to bring to market by mid-2025. This will see Fisker plant its flag in the relatively unchartered territory of ‘affordable’ BEVs, as manufacturers brace for a raft of cheaper Chinese-made, or at the very least Chinese-designed, EVs to amp up the competitive pressure in Europe.
The leading BEVs in Europe in the first half of 2023 were Tesla’s Model Y and Model 3, followed by VW’s ID.4 and ID.3, with the Fiat 500 coming in fifth, according to consultancy Jato Dynamics, as quoted by Fleet Europe. If current price projections hold true, the Fisker Pear will come in significantly cheaper than the current top four best-selling BEVs.
The Fisker Pear is expected to have a base price of $29,900 in the US, with pricing for European markets will be released later in 2023. But the Magna Steyr plant in Austria builds Fisker vehicles under contract, so these will be European made, rather than imported, EVs and thus will not attract tariffs.
Assuming Fisker can meet its price and delivery target for the Pear, its primary competition among existing BEV offerings might perhaps be the Spring made by Renault’s Romanian subsidiary Dacia, which is 7th on Jato’s H1’23 list, given the Fiat 500e is a smaller hatchback. But by 2025 the landscape might be more crowded.
According to Jato, Chinese-made cars’ European market share in H1’23 was only 0.66pc, compared to Tesla’s 2.28pc, but it was up from 0.4pc in H1’22. Most of it was driven by Saic’s MG brand, which has the advantage of European heritage and brand familiarity. Sweden’s Volvo, building its new EVs on the SEA platform of its Chinese parent Geely, will enjoy similar benefits, and its €35,900 (c.$39,00) EX30 launched in June promises to be a competitor in the higher end of the affordable space.
BYD, China’s largest BEV maker, announced two new all-electric cars for the European market in April, including the BYD Dolphin C-segment hatchback to go alongside the BYD Atto-3 c-segment SUV. It lacks the brand awareness of Chinese firms that own Western marques fallen on hard times, but its success in China means it should not be counted out — either under its own name or potentially via the partnership route.