Magna + Fisker:
When Henrik Fisker launched his second automotive startup, electric vehicle maker Fisker Inc., he realized it was time to reconnect with Magna.
The iconic car designer and entrepreneur said he was well aware of Magna’s sterling reputation in the global auto industry, and had even connected with Magna during his first venture, Fisker Automobile, which built the 2011 Fisker Karma premium plug-in hybrid. His latest venture, California-based Fisker Inc., debuted in 2016 with the goal to “reimagine everything a car company could be,” and pegs itself as the “world’s first digital car company.”
“I had some conversations with Magna with the original Fisker,” he recalled. “With Fisker Inc., we looked around and said, ‘We need to talk to Magna and see what they are thinking.’ Magna seemed like the right partner.”
As a first step in the reintroduction, Fisker sent an email in 2019 to Kurt Bachmaier, the vice president of Magna Steyr.
In a short time, Fisker and Magna CEO Swamy Kotagiri were connected and deep in discussions that led to the deal in October 2020 for Magna to build the Fisker Ocean electric SUV, while taking a stake in the startup. The Ocean, which will also include Magna’s driver assistance technology, is set to debut in 2022.
“We see this as a long-term relationship,” explained Fisker, the founder, chairman and CEO of Fisker Inc. “We both believe we are entering a new era in the auto industry.”
This transformative era is driven by vehicle electrification, the immense impact of technology and software, and consumers who are demanding more sustainable vehicles to protect the planet, he said.
“Magna was open to new ideas – and they moved really fast,” said Fisker. “Today, we think of Magna as a technology provider. Both of us are going to learn a lot from this deal and become better companies. There is the potential for a much bigger upside.
“This could be setting a golden standard for how you bring a new EV to market with a lot of new technology. It could be beneficial to Magna with new EV companies and traditional customers. People will ask: ‘Hey, how were you able to bring that Fisker to market so quickly?’”
Magna was open to new ideas – and they moved really fast. Today, we think of Magna as a technology provider. Both of us are going to learn a lot from this deal and become better companies. There is the potential for a much bigger upside.
Henrik Fisker, iconic car designer and entrepreneur