Ex-Maserati North America Chief For Sales & Marketing Heads To Fisker


The world of electric cars, or at least electric cars that are more than half-assed jokes, golf carts with pretensions and pipe dreams of the well meaning, just got a lot more interesting. For those of you that don’t follow this stuff, there’s an electric car company out there called Fisker Automotive. To a certain extent, they are to Tesla what Chevy was to Ford 100 years ago. They are serious, well funded, and aim to have the car you see pictured here, up and running as a viable, every day car for sale to the public. And to show you just how serious they are, Fisker just hired away Maserati’s chief sales and marketing “guy”.

After being head of Maserati North America for less than one year, Marti Eulberg is now vice president of global sales and marketing for Fisker. This dovetails with Fisker’s stated goal of making not just viable, every day electric cars, but luxury electric cars. Eulberg’s will “develop global sales and marketing strategies and manage Fisker’s worldwide retail network.” And just in case you’re wondering, that would be Mizz Eulberg, Marti is not a Finnish guy. She’s got auto industry bona fides falling out of her briefcase, having also worked for Jaguar, Volvo and BMW as well as managing Ford dealerships and interning at General Motors.

Fisker, as is their want, is charting a course quite distinct from its competitor, Tesla. For one thing, Fisker have been stressing the word luxury since day one, and letting the sporting nature of their cars come second. They seem to be aiming their car for eco-conscious well-to-dos, where as Tesla have taken initial aim at people like you and me: Gearheads that want an electric car that hauls ass.

And unlike Tesla, Fisker is not following Tesla down the independent store path. Fisker will license independent dealerships, and will benefit from their expertise with selling expensive vehicles in a given local market.

Is this a better approach, from a sales and marketing perspective? There’s a lot to be said for Tesla, which is sort of taking the Apple store route with their boutique dealerships. Having one of them open in your town is something of an event. On the downside, there it sits, all by its lonesome. And there, sitting over in a corner of the XYZ luxury brand showroom, will be a Fisker one day (if all goes according to plan).

So will that work? Will it drive customers to Fisker, or will it end up being like the time DeTomaso tried to sell Panteras in Ford dealerships in places like Kansas City?

Source: AutoBlogGreen

Photo from Flickr user Mike Babcock

  1. The car in the picture is not the plug-in hybrid Fisker Karma, but a previous model with petrol engine that is not for sale anymore.

  2. The Fisker approach to appointing established, authorized retailers of other premium brands is the smarter play here. The newly appointed Fisker dealers are the largest, award-winning retailers of venerable brands like BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Aston Martin, Ferrari and Lamborghini.

    Their expertise in the luxury field is well-honed and their operations are world-class. Their customer base is extensive. Customers visiting their showrooms for those other premium brands will be introduced to Fisker, and possibly converted to the marque. Whereas Tesla is a sole location — those going there have only the option of Tesla, and if they don't know about the brand, will not visit in the first place (unless well-targeted marketing reaches them).

    Fisker benefits from its dealers' long-standing reputations in the community, and places the burden of CAPEX for new 'green' showrooms on those well-capitalized dealer partners (who recognize value in the investment). Tesla, on the other hand, must spend millions setting up their own new facilities and recruiting staff to manage their untested, unproven business model. They have no previous customers because they have no other brands and they have no 'past'.

    The Fisker dealers are not in places like "Kansas City" and not "selling Fords" as your analogy to DeTomaso suggests. They are in the largest metro-wealth markets across the country.

    Take a look at the differences between the executive management. Fisker is run by prominent auto industry veterans; highly regarded by dealers and celebrated by the industry media. Most people I know (who could afford vehicles over $50,000) would prefer to buy a car from the company whose founder spent years designing world-acclaimed Aston Martins and BMWs, and whose dealers are experienced and knowledgeable.

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