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EV Startup Fisker Inc. Hires BMW Exec as Senior VP of Manufacturing, Aims to Build One Million EVs a Year by 2027

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【Summary】​Electric vehicle startup Fisker, which is gearing up to launch its first EV the Fisker Ocean this fall, has appointed Alpay Uguz as Senior Vice President of Global Manufacturing. Before joining Fisker, Alpay worked at BMW's production facility in Spartanburg, South Carolina as the general manager of the automaker’s X Series SUVs, all of which are built in the U.S.

Eric Walz    Jul 13, 2022 1:45 PM PT
EV Startup Fisker Inc. Hires BMW Exec as Senior VP of Manufacturing, Aims to Build One Million EVs a Year by 2027
The Fisker Ocean electric SUV will enter production in November at Magna Steyr's factory in Austria.

Electric vehicle startup Fisker, which is gearing up to launch its first EV the Fisker Ocean this fall, has appointed Alpay Uguz as Senior Vice President of Global Manufacturing. Before joining Fisker, Alpay worked at BMW's production facility in Spartanburg, South Carolina as the general manager of the automaker's X-Series SUVs, all of which are built in the U.S. for global export.

Uguz will report to Fiskser CEO Henrik Fisker, effective immediately.  

BMW's manufacturing plant in Spartanburg set a new production record last year, assembling a total of 433,810 BMW X Series vehicles. The record number represents a 20% increase from 2020, which was largely disrupted by the global pandemic.

BMW also said it produced a record number of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) in 2021, with about 70,000 units shipped from its factory in Spartanburg.  More than half of the BMW X Series vehicles built in Spartanburg were delivered to customers in the U.S.

Alpay will oversee and scale Fisker's company's global manufacturing operations as the company works towards its goal of producing one million vehicles annually in 2027. Fisker said that Uguz will focus on lean manufacturing and other innovative techniques to reduce the number of parts required to assemble an electric vehicle. This focus will start  from the earliest development phase.

As an EV startup without a factory, Fisker hired automotive contract manufacturer Magna Steyr in Austria to build its first vehicle, the Fisker Ocean SUV. Over the years, Magna has built vehicles for Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Jaguar.

Fisker announced in June that reservations for the Ocean SUV have reached 50,000.

"Alpay's wealth of hands-on, global manufacturing experience will boost Fisker's already ultra-fast development process, creating greater efficiency by incorporating the latest in new manufacturing methods," said Fisker CEO and Chairman Henrik Fisker. "Alpay and his team will integrate advanced manufacturing processes early in the vehicle design and engineering phases. We are developing a seamless approach from design to production with faster assembly times, ultimately providing high-quality vehicles optimized for cost and service to our customers."

Fisker's second vehicle, the "PEAR", which stands for "Personal Electric Automotive Revolution", will be fully revealed in the second half of 2023. The PEAR will enter production in the U.S. at a former GM plant in Ohio that's now owned by Fisker's other manufacturing partner Foxconn. Fisker entered into a MOU with Foxconn in Feb 2021 to build the PEAR and production in Ohio is scheduled to start in 2024.

Foxconn purchased the Ohio factory from electric truck maker Lordstown Motors. The factory was GM's former Lordstown Assembly Plant, which was sold to Lordstown Motors in Nov 2019. 

Foxconn, which is best known for assembling ten of the millions of iPhones and iPads for computer giant Apple Inc., is looking to diversify its electronics assembly business, including building connected electric vehicles for companies like Fisker, which are becoming more like "smartphones on wheels". 

Fisker says its collaboration with Foxconn in Ohio is poised to "revolutionize the traditional automotive business model" by introducing Foxconn's efficient manufacturing capabilities to electric vehicle production at scale. 

"I'm excited to apply my knowledge of lean manufacturing deployment, new product launches, and appreciation for innovation in Fisker's fast-paced environment, utilizing my cross-cultural experience working in China, Germany, the UK, and the US," Uguz said.

In May, Fisker teased what will be its third electric vehicle, a high-performance sports car in development that Fisker calls "Project Ronin". According to Fisker, the electric sports car will rival high performance electric vehicles, including the Tesla Model S Plaid and Roadster, Porsche Taycan, Mercedes-Benz EQS and Lucid Air Sedan.

Fisker said the code name "Project Ronin" was inspired by the film of the same title that's known for its famous car chases. Fisker said that development of the Ronin concept started last year with the goal of creating a futuristic Grand Touring sports car suitable for long road trips while carrying four adults and their luggage.

Fisker founder Henrik Fisker is an automotive industry veteran and is best known for designing iconic luxury cars, including the BMW Z8 and Aston Martin DB9. Now he leads the electric car company that bears his name.

Last week, Fisker announced a new direct-to-consumer online financing platform with JPMorgan Chase Bank in the U.S. that will support its digital sales model.

Through its retail financing partnership with JPMorgan Chase Bank, U.S. customers can arrange vehicle financing entirely online for the Fisker Ocean electric SUV. Customers will also be able to purchase insurance, finance factory installed accessories, or even an optional charging cable.

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