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Market research can help Fisker fix itself.

Market research can help Fisker fix itself.

I’m rooting for Fisker, the American EV startup, to survive the recent wave of negative press and its dire financial position.

One thing Fisker should do immediately: "damage control" market research with consumers.

Fisker has made several questionable marketing decisions while launching it's first model, the Ocean SUV. The most consequential decision was selling vehicles *before* fixing numerous software glitches.
When customer deliveries started in mid-2023, customer feedback on social media was consistent: the car has many positives, but it’s “incomplete.”

For example, voice command capability, one-pedal driving, adaptive cruise control, and other software features (that customers knowingly paid for) were not installed yet. Even a safety feature –automatic hill hold- was not yet available.

Starting in early 2024, as these and other reliability problems went unresolved, customers started posting on social media about the company's unresponsive customer service.

Ironically, Automotive News essentially predicted much of this would happen. A November 2022, headline practically offered a warning: “With production about to start, Fisker prioritizes deliveries over complete software suite.”

Fast forward to 3 weeks ago: YouTube’s most popular technology and automotive reviewer Marques Brownlee (@mkbhd) refused to wait any longer for the delayed software update. He borrowed an Ocean and recorded a review for his @AutoFocus channel. In the review, he said he was hoping Fisker would be successful. But he still titled the video, “This is the Worst Car I’ve Ever Reviewed.” It’s had 4.3 million views.

Making matters worse, since his review, Google Trends shows Fisker is seeing a lot more search activity.

So, what should Fisker do now?

Beyond making the obvious fixes immediately... I'd recommend a qualitative market research study, conducted with customers and in-market shoppers, to explore key questions:
-What is the prioritization of the various optional features?
-Which features are mandatory --from the customer perspective?
-Which features should be rolled out over time?
-How should Fisker set expectations / communicate the roll-out of various features?
-What might be a fair way to compensate customers for any "missing" features?
-How should customer service efficiently handle these issues?

I hope Fisker gathers this feedback and makes some changes before it’s too late.

What are your thoughts on the Fisker Ocean and the company's marketing of it?