Fisker Slows Down EV Production, Cuts 2023 Projections Again

Can Fisker accelerate to stability and deliver on all of its ambitious electric vehicle plans? Though the company has shown some progress lately, it posted a concerning update on Friday, announcing it would scale down production in December and produce fewer cars than initially estimated to preserve its cash reserves. 

In a statement, the company said it “has made a strategic decision to reduce December production to prioritize liquidity to unlock over $300 million of working capital, which creates additional business flexibility.” As Reuters also reported, it has cut its production targets for the second time this year to just over 10,000 cars. That means that the company now expects to produce less than a quarter of the Fisker Ocean than initially planned.

Let’s recall that in February, Fisker reported roughly 65,000 pre-orders for the Ocean model, while its optimistic forecast for 2023 was to produce 42,400 units. In May, the guidance was cut to 32,000 to 36,000 units, and in August, the company announced another cut to 20,000 to 23,000 units. Even though Fisker Ocean customer deliveries finally accelerated in Q3, the guidance was further reduced in November to 13,000 to 17,000 units. Now we’re talking about just over 10,000 units. (Interesting, shares of the automaker actually rose Friday on this news; investors seem happy that Fisker is prioritizing its financial situation.) 

Considering 5,802 Fisker Ocean produced during the first nine months of the year, and roughly, 9,000 by mid-November (so over 3,000 in one and a half months), there might be no or almost no production at the Magna Steyr factory in Graz, Austria in December.

This may be less of an issue with production—Magna’s factory probably can crank at least a few thousand more cars a month, if needed—and more with slow customer deliveries. At the end of Q3, those amounted to just 1,108 units, though that grew to over 3,000 in mid-November.

Naturally, CEO Henrik Fisker seemed undaunted in a statement. “Our teams have worked hard to overcome some early delivery challenges and are now setting an impressive pace as we prepare to close out 2023,” he said in the news release. “We may not have hit our original forecast but taking current market conditions and negative sentiments around EV sales into account, I would say we are doing quite well, as we continue to accelerate sales and deliveries. This is yielding considerable revenue as we ramp up our business. I expect by the end of this year we will have delivered more customer cars than any Western EV startup did in their first year of deliveries. The company continues to sharpen its focus on growing its current markets and enhancing our sales and service offerings for the Fisker Ocean.” 

The company also revealed that on Nov. 16, deliveries exceeded 100 units in a single day for the very first day, while on November 30 amounted to 123 (either delivered or in transit to customers.) We can assume that at its peak, deliveries could run at a rate of more than 3,000 a month.

It seems that sales in 2023 might reach 6,000-7,000 units (roughly a tenth of the original 65,000 pre-orders), which will be a few thousand behind production. As a result, there may not be much sense in producing more cars until the delivery bottlenecks are sorted out, which explains why Fisker prioritizes liquidity “to unlock over $300 million of working capital.”

The main question is this: were deliveries are so much slower than production because of logistical issues, or because pre-orders/reservations don’t turn into sales?

Fisker explains that it “has nearly finished delivering launch edition Ocean Ones in the U.S. and has begun delivering Ocean Extremes and Ultras in Europe. The objective is to convert reservation holders to orders in 2023 while preparing to maintain this process into 2024.” The company is entering a period selling regular Oceans.

In parallel, Fisker is expanding to new markets; in December, customer deliveries will start in Canada. However, the new markets are usually much smaller, and will not make a significant change in the overall picture.

One interesting thing to note is that Fisker intends to earn some cash through sales of the EPA Greenhouse Gas emission credits in the U.S. and through entering into an emission pooling agreement (with other manufacturers) in Europe. 

There are also some other, undisclosed deals on the table, as Fisker has revealed advancing discussions with “strategic partners” and “several automakers.” We should know more in the coming months. We also can’t rule that some automotive group would like to purchase part of Fisker eventually too. 

What do you think this report means for Fisker’s future, and how will 2024 look for the company?