Henrik Fisker doesn't obsess over door handles. He doesn't focus-group his designs with soccer moms or hire a layer of vice presidents to insulate him from the day-to-day functioning of his company. Instead, Fisker--former head designer for BMW, Aston Martin and Ford--broke away from the giant automakers and their way of doing business to create a streamlined, cutting-edge carmaker based in Irvine, Calif.
Fisker Automotive has only 50 people on the payroll--versus tens of thousands for other carmakers--with most of the workload outsourced to 80 suppliers around the world and final assembly in the same Finnish plant where the Porsche Boxster is made. This coming summer, after less than three years in development, the company's first car will roll off the line: A jazzy, plug-in hybrid sports car called the Karma.
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