As you may recall, Lutz and Villarreal formed VL Automotive a few years ago with plans to retrofit Fisker Karmas with Corvette V8s, calling the reworked product the VL Destino. Now Henrik Fisker has signed on to the project as head of design and product strategy, with Lutz serving as chairman and Villarreal as CEO under the newly renamed VLF Automotive.
The joint plan calls for swapping the hybrid powertrain out of the Karma and replacing it with the 6.2-liter supercharged V8 from the previous Corvette ZR1. In stock form, the LS9 makes 638 horsepower and 604 pound-feet of torque. The VLF Destino is estimated to hit 60 in 3.9 seconds and top out at around 200 miles per hour. That will make it a world-class performance sedan capable of tangling with the finest imports, but will be retrofitted right here in America – in Auburn Hills, MI, near the Chrysler headquarters where Lutz once occupied the big corner office.
VLF Automotive is showing the revised Destino at the Detroit Auto Show alongside the Force 1. We're trying not to get too excited about the prospect of a Fisker sedan with American muscle, as the Destino is slated to retail for $229,000 – which is even more than Aston Martin, for example, gets for the Rapide S or Porsche does for a Panamera Turbo S.
A New American Luxury Sports Car Company Is Born
Auburn Hills, MI January 8, 2016 - VLF Automotive, a new, US-based luxury sports car company, officially launches today through a partnership between legendary automotive designer Henrik Fisker, former General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz and entrepreneur and manufacturer Gilbert Villarreal. Fisker is a VLF shareholder and third member of the executive management team alongside Lutz and Villarreal.
"It's a circle," Lutz explained. "When Gilbert and I formed VL Automotive in 2012, we wanted to take Henrik's beautifully proportioned design, replace the hybrid gas-electric power train with a Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 drivetrain, and create a bespoke four-door luxury car with outstanding performance. With Henrik on board, we are ready to present the Destino with a refined design, and a new model named Force 1 that Henrik has developed with an acclaimed race car driver, at the 2016 North American International Auto Show."
VLF Automotive boasts a state-of-the-art development and manufacturing facility in Auburn Hills and a design and technology center in Los Angeles. With Lutz as chairman, Villarreal as CEO and Fisker as head of design and product strategy, VLF team represents more than 100 years experience at the top-tier of the the automotive industry and have been instrumental in such iconic cars as Aston Martins, BMWs, Vipers and Corvettes.
"I'm honored to become a partner in this automotive 'Dream Team'," said Fisker. "With the management and financial skills of Bob Lutz, the manufacturing expertise of Gilbert Villarreal and my design innovation, we're poised to launch an extraordinary company, as we seek to change the future of the American auto industry."
The Destino embodies everything that VLF Automotive stands for: American, tailor made, highquality, performance and ingenuity. Designed by Henrik Fisker, and engineered and built by VLF's experienced automotive team in Auburn Hills, MI, the Destino sets out to be the leading high-performance 4-door GT in the world. Powered by a reliable Corvette LS9 V8 engine, the Destino, with its relatively low weight, has tremendous performance characteristics. The Destino V8 retail price starts at $229,000.
VLF Automotive will be adding additional jobs at its dedicated manufacturing facility in Auburn hills, when production of the Destino and Force 1 ramps up throughout 2016. VLF is expected to have 7 dedicated dealers with full-service capability throughout North America and several international dealers appointed in 2016.