Doug DeMuro Praises Fisker Ocean, Addresses MKBHD Review

By automotive-mag.com 7 Min Read

Fisker’s impending bankruptcy seems inevitable at this point. Many would argue that it’s no longer a question of if the brand would go down, but when. Things that exacerbated the Fisker Ocean’s problems were safety issues and the lack of consistency in quality. This led to some of the most prominent names in automotive reviews and content creation getting vastly different test cars—and that meant they had different takes on these EVs.

In addition to the investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), owners InsideEVs interviewed also echoed that the early cars faced bugs and posed safety problems. Fundamentally, the Ocean seems sound and owners love it, but the problems are hard to live with. Those included sudden power loss, issues with regenerative braking, the screen displaying errors, and an often dysfunctional key fob, meaning even ingress and egress is a nightmare, among several other issues.

So no, I don’t blame journalists and content creators for pointing these issues out to the public—that’s part of the job. Importantly, these issues and a poor service network existed even before one of the biggest YouTubers got his hands on the car. And I stress the word “before,” because many keyboard warriors would have you believe that one YouTuber singlehandedly took the company down. But the issue certainly grabbed more headlines since then and likely aggravated an existing problem.

One of the glaring moments in the company’s downward spiral occurred after tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee said the Fisker Ocean was the “worst car [he has] ever reviewed.” Fisker’s stock nosedived 50% after that review dropped, and generated an internet storm. Five million people have viewed that video since it came out about a month ago. Some said the review wasn’t fair since Brownlee reviewed a car that was due for a software update to iron out the problems he faced. Others said it was completely fair.

On the other hand, Doug DeMuro, a popular name in the automotive reviews space with nearly five million YouTube subscribers, praised the Fisker Ocean during a podcast last week. DeMuro said he liked the Ocean despite the unit he received having several glitches. “Marques Brownlee kind of tipped all this thing off and that set things slowing in addition to Fisker already being in a difficult place,” DeMuro said during the podcast.

He indicated that he would rather pick the Ocean instead of the Chevy Blazer and the Honda Prologue. “I think the Ocean is better looking than the Blazer and Prologue, and it’s well-priced with some interesting and exciting new tech,” DeMuro said in an email interview with InsideEVs. “Frankly, the Blazer and Prologue aren’t especially exciting, which is showing in the (lack of) hype around them.”

Inconsistency is common among early production models made by upstarts. Early Teslas had wide-ranging quality issues, and so did early Rivian models. Even experienced legacy automakers aren’t immune to issues faced by EVs—a Blazer EV bricked while charging during an InsideEVs road test with our man Kevin Williams having to rescue himself in a rental Nissan Titan.

2023 Fisker Ocean interior dashboard

DeMuro alluded to this. “There are often some sort of electronic glitches in [early production EVs]—something that doesn’t work quite right that the automaker begs off by calling it ‘pre-production,’ but you kinda know they’re still working on it,” DeMuro said. “I’ve seen it with basically all the startup EV manufacturers, including Tesla.”

I asked DeMuro, who doesn’t own stock in any automaker, what he thought of the MKBHD review. “[It] was reasonably fair. I do think he takes a more tech-focused approach to car reviewing, and so he’s more focused on the usability of the technology than many reviewers—and so a car that’s glitchy will get very low marks from him,” he said.

Several events have transpired with Fisker since DeMuro’s podcast came out last weekend. The widely reported rescue from Nissan is no longer on the table, the New York Stock Exchange delisted Fisker after the share price fell to just $0.09 from a high of $28 a couple of years ago, and the company halved the price of inventory vehicles yesterday, making the Ocean one of the most affordable EVs on the market today with a starting price of just $25,000, becoming even cheaper than the Nissan Leaf.

You can get your hands on a fast and feature-packed EV today, but typically when a brand goes down, so does its ability to service and beam software updates. So owning one for cheap, short-term thrills might be a fun impulsive choice, but keeping one could easily become a nightmare. I asked DeMuro if there was anything Fisker could do apart from obtaining an emergency bailout from a bigger carmaker or any investor who’s willing to turn things around for the brand.

“They’ve already revealed some tremendously enticing future products, and if the promise of future success is not enough to get them over the hill of survival, then it’ll have to be operating cash so they can keep funding the company until those future products actually come to reality,” DeMuro said.

“So at this point, it’s just money. Nothing else can do it,” he said.

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