Published January 14, 2013
Is it destiny for performance car enthusiasts, or a disaster for the green automotive scene?
A surprise debut at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the four-door Destino is a Fisker Karma that’s been stripped of its extended-range electric drivetrain and fitted with the 638 hp supercharged V8 from a Chevrolet Corvette ZR1.
Designed by VL Automotive, a Michigan-based collaboration between investor Gilbert Villereal and former General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, the Destino aims to bring the high style of the Karma to sports sedan customers more interested in speed than zero emissions driving.
Lutz, the driving force behind the Chevrolet Volt and a member of the board of directors of Via Motors, which makes full-size plug-in hybrid pickup trucks, thinks there’s room in the luxury sports sedan market for the super sexy sedan, which is destined to have a price tag far above that of the $102,000 Karma that its based on.
During testing, VL Automotive has been buying completed Karmas to work with, but Lutz says the company is in talks with Fisker about purchasing “glider” versions of the car, which would have everything but the drivetrain installed, saving both time and money when production of the Destino ramps up later this year.
The development comes at an opportune time for Fisker, which has been unable to build any cars for over half a year due to the extended bankruptcy of its sole battery-pack supplier, A123 Systems. The Karma is assembled for Fisker in Finland by specialty carmaker Valmet Automotive.
It's an interesting turn of events for Fisker, whose founder, Henrik Fisker, got his start as an automaker by building redesigned versions of BMW's and Mercedes-Benz through his first company, Fisker Coachbuild.
Or is it simply destiny?