Home » A Report Claims Fisker Used Pre-Production Parts To Fix Customer Cars. That May Or May Not Be A Big Deal

A Report Claims Fisker Used Pre-Production Parts To Fix Customer Cars. That May Or May Not Be A Big Deal

Fisker For Parts Ts
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How would you feel if your car had pre-production parts on it? While some car enthusiasts might be stoked to rock the equivalent of a medallion from new car development hell, mainstream consumers would likely be less than stoked. Normally, these parts are all sent through the crusher, but fixing customer cars with parts from pre-production cars is allegedly something that’s been happening over at Fisker.

Yes, Fisker has seen a rough go of it over the past few months. From the viral Marques Brownlee review of an Ocean crossover with early software to being delisted by the New York Stock Exchange, it’s faced setback after setback, and new allegations are only the latest in the chain.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

On Wednesday, Business Insider published a report claiming that Fisker used parts from existing production and pre-production cars to fix issues with customer units of the Ocean crossover. As per the outlet:

In response to a backlog of customer-service requests and a shortage of available parts, Fisker technicians have stripped parts off what some have called “donor cars,” which include Fisker Ocean preproduction and production vehicles that are sitting in the company’s facility in La Palma, California, three current and five former Fisker employees said. The workers spoke to BI on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about company affairs. Business Insider also viewed several photos of Fisker Ocean cars with missing parts that sources say were used for customer vehicles.

Alright, there are two allegations to unpack here, so let’s start with the more challenging one. Pre-production cars and pre-production parts can be a bundle of snakes when it comes to liability. If those vehicles aren’t homologated, opening their use or their parts up to the public could theoretically result in a lawsuit should a non-production-spec part cause a crash. However, there are some parts that may be more acceptable to swap out than others depending on the level of risk involved.

Fisker Ocean 2023 1600 08

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For instance, a little trim piece that covers a window shut line, a plastic panel in the cargo area, or a piece of cupholder trim shouldn’t be a safety-critical component. Those sort of items aren’t in the paths of airbags, responsible for controlling critical safety systems, or chassis bits … so if they look like the respective parts from customer-spec cars and are in better condition, how many owners would say no?

At the same time, if an externally-supplied part on a pre-production car was already in production when the Ocean was in pre-production testing, and that part is both identical to the one on a production car and in good enough shape to appear new, why not use it to get a car on the road? In the short term, it seems like the more desirable option than waiting months for identical new parts to come in.

Fisker Ocean 1

When parts for production-spec cars are in short supply or a customer is in a rush, parts get pulled from new vehicles in inventory all the time. It’s just one of those things that happens in the business, whether with startups or established brands. The main difference between this and pulling parts off pre-production cars? Liability is near-null, and some degree of disclosure typically occurs. In that respect, if Fisker were to swap defective parts on customer cars out with new vehicles it has lying around and tell customers about it, the firm would be doing nothing wrong. Indeed, Business Insider did find an owner who claims Fisker disclosed the option of a parts switcheroo with a car in inventory to fix a cosmetic fault.

Patrick Burrell, a Fisker Ocean owner in California, said he was told by a Fisker employee that the company would fix a minor paint and trim issue with his car by using a part that was taken off one of Fisker’s other cars, but the repair has yet to be complete. Business Insider viewed an email exchange between a Fisker employee and Burrell that showed the employee offered to fix Burrell’s car using a part from another Fisker car.

“These trim pieces are being pulled off a brand-new vehicle so they are basically brand new,” the worker said in a later email to the customer.

In the case of this particular claim, it seems like no harm, no foul. However, there are still lingering questions on whether or not pre-production parts were swapped onto customer cars, what those alleged parts were, and whether or not customers were notified should such procedures have taken place.

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Fisker Ocean 2

We reached out to Fisker for comment and received the statement that “parts from prototype/preproduction vehicles have never been used for customer vehicles.”

As it stands, making cars is hard. The next few years will be a real crunch time for established manufacturers and startups alike, and not every firm will survive. Given Fisker’s current challenges, let’s see if the automaker makes it out of the muck. It has some great ideas, now it’s just a matter of execution.

(Photo credits: Fisker)

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CUlater
CUlater
26 days ago

Nice turn of phrase / double entendre there with “…now it’s just a matter of execution” considering Fisker’s dire straits.

Ben
Ben
26 days ago

Unless someone has evidence that they did something unsafe/illegal this is a nothingburger. In fact, they might deserve some praise for pulling out all the stops to take care of their customers, something a lot of other manufacturers can’t be bothered to do.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
26 days ago
Reply to  Ben

100% vague accusations from 3 former employees and 2 unnamed employees. I assume checking sources and backup proof was just omitted from the story? At least the Tesla stories had proof.

Sklooner
Sklooner
26 days ago

I had an A2 Jetta that was actually a pre production car- some of the parts were from other models- like door hinges and some trim pieces were unique- no idea how it made it to market- the VIN was about 100 before the supposed start VIN- it was a Canadian market one purchased in Germany by an armed forces person, weird options with power front windows manual rear and rubber flooring

Spikersaurusrex
Spikersaurusrex
26 days ago

If the production part and the pre-production part are identical, I don’t see an issue. Just because part number 12345 was ordered for a pre-production model doesn’t make it less good than the part number 12345 that was ordered for production, assuming the specs are the same. Maybe I’m missing something.

James Carson
James Carson
26 days ago

The Ocean is a genuinely good looking car. I hope the company makes it, or is bought out by an entity that is able to see it through to a becoming a viable manufacturer. The parts thing is unfortunate, but the reports do not indicate what parts were substituted so until verified, it’s just media rumor to me.

M0L0TOV
M0L0TOV
26 days ago
Reply to  James Carson

Magna wanted to be their own manufacturer when they looked at Chrysler back in the day. This may be their chance since they already make the Ocean. They absorb Fisker, rebrand it and keep manufacturing their cars.

James Carson
James Carson
26 days ago
Reply to  M0L0TOV

Thats a thought. Either that or partner up with a mainstream manufacturer who has the dealer network in place and continue to do the contract manufacturing. Im not convinced that the Tesla is viable in their case. Whadda i know though. Im just a consumer with less than zero automotive manufacturing experience.

Chris D
Chris D
26 days ago
Reply to  M0L0TOV

After the takeover and rebrand, their new smaller model could be called the Magna Tick.

M0L0TOV
M0L0TOV
23 days ago
Reply to  Chris D

Or Magna Opus. 😉

NebraskaStig
NebraskaStig
26 days ago

Given the issues, preproduction parts might be better than what they used for production.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
26 days ago

Will the five people who bought a Fisker Ocean care?

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
26 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Four of the five are probably furious about not getting that part.

Matt Sexton
Matt Sexton
26 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

I know you’re just making a funny, but Fisker’s fire sale seems to have worked. Experian registration data indicated 940 Oceans were registered in Q1, nearly three times the number of Lucid Airs in the same period. I think there’s close to 4000 Oceans sold thus far, but that number could be higher.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
26 days ago
Reply to  Matt Sexton

Apparently, P. T. Barnum was right.

Chris D
Chris D
26 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Does anyone even know where to buy a Fisker? I haven’t seen one on the road yet, and around here you see everything, even the occasional Kei van, but with out-of-state plates.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
26 days ago

See, this is precisely why I prefer to own vehicles from marques that haven’t existed for a while. Pre-production, production, and post-production parts are all readily unavailable.

James Carson
James Carson
26 days ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

Go Rambler!

RidesBicyclesButLovesCars
RidesBicyclesButLovesCars
26 days ago

As long as the non-production part works and doesn’t affect safety/compliance, I don’t have any issues. I do agree that the customer should know and decide if they want to be put on a list to receive production parts when they become available.

Fisker isn’t the first nor will they be the last vehicle manufacturer to do this.

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