Bargain or burden? The truth about buying a Fisker Ocean

Fisker Ocean front quarter
Fisker Ocean front quarter

Fisker recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, meaning it will sell off its assets

News that Fisker Group, the US electric car maker behind the Ocean SUV, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection won’t have surprised many owners of its vehicles, who have been monitoring the company’s troubles in recent months.

However, for those bold enough to seize the opportunity, this development opens up the prospect of bargains among the new and used examples available in the UK.

Fisker's rise and fall

Launched in 2016, Fisker was haemorrhaging money by 2023 and subsequently found itself delisted from the New York Stock Exchange. More bad news arrived this March when Fisker announced that in order to stay in business it would reduce staff numbers, pause future model development and suspend current production by sub-contractor Magna Steyr at its factory in Austria. In April, the company warned it might have to apply for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, which it did on 17 June.


From launch, prices for the Fisker Ocean, the firm’s only model, ranged from £36,000 for the 73kWh, single-motor Sport, through £50,900 for the mid-price Ultra with all-wheel drive and a 113kWh battery, to £58,685 for the range-topping Ocean Extreme.

However, in April, as Fisker’s problems threatened to engulf it, the company slashed £14,000 from the Extreme’s price, £12,000 from the Ultra’s and £6000 from the Sport’s.

At the same time, it dropped a bombshell in the form of a statement explaining that after 5 April anyone purchasing an Ocean did so in the knowledge that the vehicle’s warranty and all claims they might have for its material defects were permanently unenforceable. The company then closed its Milton Keynes office, so all communications now go through the US head office.

Magna Steyr built around 10,000 vehicles before suspending production in April. By March this year, approximately 5000 cars remained unsold. Assuming a stockpile of spare parts and body panels existed to support production, it’s possible that they might be offered to the market by a third party if Fisker cannot be saved.

The availability of software updates is less certain. As for warranty cover, policies on used Oceans are available from warranty firms such as the RAC and Warrantywise.

The owner dilemma

Fisker Ocean line-up
Fisker Ocean line-up

Remarkably, throughout this turbulent period, UK car buyers have continued to purchase new and used Oceans. Among the online clubs supporting the model is Fisker Ocean Owners UK. Members have posted reports of software updates, some of them successful. Older posts reference cars being plagued with teething problems, some serious. Fisker’s two mobile technical teams attract praise but their future with the firm is unknown.

In spite of its problems, Fisker has appointed an agent in the south-east whose role is to demonstrate the cars and forward expressions of interest to the firm. In the four weeks since it acquired the agent, EV Experts – an EV dealer based in Guildford and Hook – claims to have hosted up to two Ocean test drives per day.

“We do demos but Fisker says new car deliveries are being delayed by problems with a broken tool required for the pre-delivery inspection,” said Estelle Miller, co-founder of the dealership.

Fisker may not be delivering new cars but EV Experts has two of them on display: an Ocean Ultra for £39,120 and an Extreme for £44,075.

Elsewhere, independent dealers are selling nearly new examples. Of the 16 it acquired two months ago, King’s Lynn dealership Stebbings has five used Extremes and one Sport left. The cars have reasonably low mileage and come with a 12-month RAC warranty.

For an Ocean Extreme 4WD Dual Motor 113kWh registered on a 2023/73-plate, with 1045 miles and costing £28,558, Stebbings is quoting a monthly PCP payment of £345 over 48 months and 60,000 miles, calculated on a £5000 deposit and a future value of £14,444.

A drop in the Ocean

Fisker Ocean side
Fisker Ocean side

A PCP is the safest way to finance an Ocean, given that it guarantees a vehicle’s future value. When Fisker’s problems became more widely known, Cap HPI made reductions in the value of used Oceans totalling 48% in May alone – the biggest fall the company has recorded in a single month. In the wake of the bankruptcy announcement, for July it has reduced the value of Oceans in Extreme trim by a further 10%.

Commenting on its actions, Dylan Setterfield, head of forecast strategy at Cap HPI, said: “Following these falls, we reduced our three-year forecasts across the Ocean range by a further 31% on average at the end of May. We continue to monitor the situation.”

Assuming a provider would consider it, taking out GAP insurance to cover any shortfall between what an insurer is prepared to pay for an Ocean in the event that it is written off – highly likely in the circumstances – and what it cost would seem sensible.

Regarding insurance, we were quoted £797 by Admiral for Stebbings’ Ocean Extreme. However, given the uncertainties surrounding the availability of spare parts and technical back-up and the consequences for repair times, how long insurers will offer cover for the model is unclear.

A spokesperson for Admiral said: “We are reviewing whether we will continue insuring new customers with Fisker Ocean cars in light of the situation and are in communication with our repair networks. We appreciate that what has happened may be concerning to existing customers and we will continue to support them.”

What Ocean residuals look like

Fisker Ocean residual values graph
Fisker Ocean residual values graph

An owner's view

Financier Kav Patel bought a new Fisker Ocean Extreme in November last year. It’s his family’s fourth EV and he’s very impressed with its range, value, comfort and driving pleasure. Patel’s car has suffered software problems but he says they were all resolved with the 2.0 update two months ago. More recently, it received a 2.1 over-the-air update.

Now he is wondering if that might be the last.

“The technical back-up has fallen off a cliff,” he said. “There are two great teams of mobile technicians but how long will they hang around?”

Patel is financing his car on a PCP so feels he’s in a better position than those who bought their cars outright.

He said: “EVs tend to be quite reliable so I’m not worried about any major issues and I do think a company will buy the dregs of Fisker. Should you buy an Ocean now? I’d sit tight and see what happens.”

Is the Ocean still a competitive EV?

Fisker Ocean front tracking
Fisker Ocean front tracking

Our testers have already passed judgement on the Ocean, awarding it four and a half stars. EV Experts’ Extreme demonstrator was my first sight of one. Despite Fisker’s troubles, the model itself is a convincing product, at least at the much-reduced prices it now commands.

The 556bhp, four-wheel-drive SUV has a driving range of around 400 miles and looks and feels finished to the extent that it’s possible to forgive some of the sub-par switchgear and expanses of black plastic. ‘California’ mode, which lowers all of the windows at the press of a button, the ‘taco tray’ fold-out driver’s table and the solar roof are nice touches.

On the road, it’s quick, comfortable and quiet. Without doubt, the model deserves to rise from the ashes of Fisker.