That number comes from "internal financial statements and interviews with former Fisker executives," Reuters reports, quoting a former executive saying the luxury plug-in hybrid, "cost far more to produce than we could ever charge for it." All told, between 2008 and 2012, Reuters estimates Fisker lost $1 billion.
The losses were due, in part, to those many production delays two to three years ago as well as a reduction in the number of cars it was going to make and sell. Remember when the company said it would sell 15,000 units a year? Eventually, the company sold around 2,000 vehicles, total.
There is a lot worth reading in the source article, including how the Karma's forward-placed exhaust – which hurt the vehicle's performance and was too loud – was fixed using a metal "pizza box" that cost millions extra. Throw in salaries of around $600,000-$700,000 for co-founders Henrik Fisker and Barny Koehler, even while Fisker was laying people off, and you have a recipe for not succeeding. Here's a taste of what Reuters has to offer:
You can read the whole thing here.
In May 2011, the company co-sponsored a pre-race grand prix party aboard a 146-foot yacht moored in the Monte Carlo harbor. Guests drank glasses of champagne served with flecks of gold. Clad in a dark pinstripe suit and open-neck white shirt, Henrik Fisker navigated a crowd that included Prince Albert of Monaco, whom he described as the inspiration for the Karma. ... The Monaco weekend, according to several sources familiar with the event, cost Fisker between $80,000 and $100,000. That wasn't lavish by auto-marketing standards, but by this point every penny mattered. Within weeks, the Energy Department stopped payments on its loan.