Fisker Gets More Real

“So, is Fisker a real car company?” That’s a question that sometimes gets bandied about in the automotive community, as people wonder whether Fisker Automotive is actually going to be rolling out with more than an infinitesimal volume of hybrid vehicles.

“So, is Fisker a real car company?”

That’s a question that sometimes gets bandied about in the automotive community, as people wonder whether Fisker Automotive is actually going to be rolling out with more than an infinitesimal volume of hybrid vehicles.

There is no question that the cars are drop-dead gorgeous—which isn’t surprising, as Henrik Fisker, company co-founder and CEO, designed cars including the Aston Martin V8 Vantage—but checking the most-recent U.S. sales figures from Autodata I find that Fisker isn’t even on the list (Ferrari, in case you’re wondering, sold 1,563 units through November).

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On Wednesday Fisker Automotive announced the appointment of Richard Beattie as chief commercial officer. Beattie has an impressive automotive resume, which includes, executive vice president of Marketing and Sales for Jaguar North America and vp of marketing, sales and service at Lincoln Mercury, and president and CEO of Mazda North America.

Clearly, a real auto executive.

Yesterday Fisker Automotive announced the appointment of Tom LaSorda as vice chairman of the Fisker Board and chairman of the board’s Strategy Council.

LaSorda was most recently CEO, president and vice chair of Chrysler Group.

While I don’t know Beattie, I do know LaSorda. LaSorda began his automotive career in 1977 at GM before moving over to Chrysler in 2000. Toward the end of his tenure at GM he was legendary for his implementation of lean manufacturing techniques at GM plants in Europe. I remember trying to secure an interview with him when he’d returned, and the GM people wouldn’t grant one, implying, in effect, that LaSorda was a secret weapon given his lean know-how. He was.

LaSorda, in my estimation, is the real deal when it comes to automotive operations.

Whether Fisker Automotive is going to become anything but a company that makes a few sexy cars remains to be seen.

But the addition of these two execs is a good reality check.