Fisker CEO hopes partner Magna triples SUV output in 2023 to meet demand

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Electric-vehicle maker Fisker Inc. hopes Canadian supply giant and contract assembler Magna International Inc. can boost production at its plant in Austria to 150,000 vehicles from 2024 as reservations for the automaker’s first vehicle surge.

The EV startup says it has taken more than 40,000 reservations for the Ocean SUV, which starts at $37,499 in the U.S. The company expects as many as double that by year-end, CEO Henrik Fisker said in an interview.

Magna, which also builds BMW’s 5 Series sedan and Mercedes-Benz’s G Class SUV on contract at its factory in Graz, will start assembling the Ocean in November. In 2020, Fisker and Magna signed an agreement to make 50,000 units at the plant in 2023 and the CEO said he’s confident the supplier could triple output the following year.

Fisker is part of a crop of EV hopefuls seeking to break into the automaking major league as the shift to battery-powered cars accelerates. The company is bullish on its production prospects in part because of its close relationship with Magna, which holds a 6 percent stake in the newcomer.

“Big carmakers are now working on their second major models, incorporating lessons learned, and many of those will hit the market from 2025,” Fisker said. “Between now and then, we have a chance to get in.”

The Ocean, which Fisker showed off to European customers at a conference in Barcelona earlier this year, will have to compete with vehicles including Volkswagen Group’s ID4 and Tesla Inc.’s Model Y. The vehicle comes in three versions with two different battery types. The base offering uses cheaper lithium-ion-phosphate cells, helping Fisker navigate some of the price surges for raw materials, especially nickel, the executive said.

The manufacturer is also working on its second model, the Pear, which it plans to build in the U.S. with partner Foxconn Technology Group.

Magna ranks No. 4 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers, with worldwide parts sales to automakers of $32.65 billion in 2020.

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