Dan Niel’s Bad Karma

by Greg Pollowitz

The WSJ’s Dan Niel gives an update of his 2012 review of the Fisker Karma and it’s not good for Team Obama’s taxpayer-funded turkey stimulus project:

First and worst: I was too easy on the Fisker Karma, a range-extended plug-in electric luxury sedan built in Finland and imported by the Orange County, Calif.-based company. I really wanted this car to be great, and I have great respect for Henrik Fisker, whose company, having received a highly vetted Department of Energy loan, got smeared during the presidential campaign, a la Solyndra. As unfair as these attacks were, they should have been inadmissible evidence in my judgment of Karma; instead, I found myself rooting for Fisker as an underdog.

In the review, published in February, I tied myself in knots trying to praise the Karma, even resorting to the “world’s most interesting car” banality. But in the end, I see in hindsight, the car is too heavy, too overpromised in terms of performance and efficiency, and it is just too durably weird-looking to love. Put a jar in your Fisker Karma, and put a dollar in the jar every time somebody asks you, “What the hell are you driving, mister?” You could put a kid through college that way.

Also, in the article on the Karma, I fumbled this joke: “At 5,300 pounds, the Karma is the heaviest four-seater this side of a Cessna.” Flying enthusiasts wrote in to say that I was wildly off the mark. A Cessna 175 weighs about 1,400 pounds. Holy cow, how did I get that so wrong? It’s like being asked the weight of a skyscraper and guessing three hens.

In any event, in the second edition, the joke will run thus: “…the heaviest four-seater this side of 3.78 Cessnas.” See? Better.

I don’t get it. In the first paragraph, Neil complains that the Karma was “smeared “in the presidential campaign, but his second graph goes on to list all the things wrong with the car, thus confirming why the car was smeared in the first place.