As many of you probably already know, our kin at Consumer Reports buy everything they test at retail. Which means that they aren’t testing a product that has been optimized or checked out by the manufacturer in advance. It also means that every once in a while, a $107,000 car breaks down in the parking lot.
The CR cars folks were just beginning to put the luxury hybrid Fisker Karma through its paces at the test track when:
[T]he dashboard flashed a message and sounded a “bing” showing a major fault. Our technician got the car off the track and put it into Park to go through the owner’s manual to interpret the warning. At that point, the transmission went into Neutral and wouldn’t engage any gear through its electronic shifter except Park and Neutral.
We let the car sit for about an hour and restarted it. We could now engage Drive and the same error message disappeared. After moving it only a few feet the error message reappeared and when we tried to engage Reverse the transmission went straight to Park and again no motion gear could be engaged. After calling the dealer, which is about 100 miles away, they promptly sent a flatbed tow truck to haul away the disabled Fisker.
According to CR, which purchases around 80 cars each year, this is the first time they had a car that was undriveable without having completed even the most preliminary tests.
Bad Karma: Our Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid breaks down [Consumer Reports]