Henrik Fisker has filed a $100 million lawsuit against former employer Aston Martin.
The renowned car designer is claiming damages after Aston Martin requested his company, Fisker Automobiles, cancel the launch of its Fisker Force 1 because it believes the new sports car’s design bears significant resemblance to its own products.
In a letter sent to Fisker on the 23 December 2015, David Kelly, an attorney representing Aston Martin, said the Force 1’s design should be changed to “avoid conflict with Aston Martin’s rights”. In particular, Aston Martin describes the design of the Force 1 as “strikingly similar” to its DB10. Fisker, however, believes the claims – which are based on a single teaser image – are unfounded, and his company has produced its own comparison images as evidence.
“We believe that in an effort to protect itself from further market erosion, Aston Martin conspired and devised a scheme to stomp out Henrik Fisker’s competitive presence in the luxury sports car industry,’ Fisker’s legal counsel, Jonathan Michaels of MLG Automotive Law, said. “Because of the threats they laid out in their letter we opted to play offense in regards to Aston Martin’s transparent and nefarious motives.”
Autocar contacted Aston Martin for a response, but it would not provide comment at this time.
Last year, Aston Martin demanded the cancellation of another Fisker, the Thunderbolt design prototype. In its lawsuit, the British car maker claimed the car’s design copied that of its Aston Martin Vanquish, describing the practice as “wholly unacceptable”. In this case, Fisker agreed to not produce the Thunderbolt and Aston Martin withdrew all legal proceedings.
Fisker’s decision to defend the design of the Force 1 sports car suggests this latest lawsuit won’t reach such an amicable conclusion. The car maker goes so far as saying that Aston Martin’s case is flawed because it’s based on a single teaser image. Interestingly, Aston Martin admitted in its letter: “We do not know what the final version of Fisker’s Force 1 will look like”.
The Force 1 is due to be unveiled alongside another new Fisker at the Detroit motor show later this month. Autocar understands that the Force 1 will feature carbonfibre bodwork and sit on 21in alloy wheels shod in Pirelli P Zero tyres. It's also expected to feature a new active suspension design, and is claimed to be powered by one of "the world's highest output naturally aspirated engines". Production will be limited to “up to 50 units”, priced from between £131,000 and £197,000.
Henrik Fisker is a former Aston Martin design boss, responsible for models such as the DB9 and V8 Aston Martin Vantage. He also headed the team that designed the BMW Z8 and is now a co-founder of Fisker Automobiles.