Fisker’s Ocean SUV investigated for doors that won’t open

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a third investigation into electric vehicle startup Fisker’s Ocean SUV, this time focused on problems opening the doors.

NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) says in a new advisory that it has received 14 complaints from owners who were unable to open the doors of their Fisker Oceans, either from the inside or the outside. The agency says the complaints allege an “intermittent failure” of the door lock and handle system. The complaints also raise the possibility that the emergency override mechanism may not work either.

The Ocean SUV is already under investigation by the ODI for issues with its braking system and for complaints about the vehicle driving on uneven surfaces. The company has not issued any recalls for the Ocean. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The third probe is being opened while Fisker is on the brink. The company suspended production of the Ocean in March and reported only $121 million in the bank. Fisker still has thousands of Ocean SUVs in inventory that it is struggling to sell, either directly or through its nascent dealership model, and recently slashed prices by up to 39% in a desperate attempt to generate sales. It was recently delisted from the New York Stock Exchange. A potential partnership with Nissan failed, endangering an attempt to secure $150 million in bailout funding.

Customers have reported to Fisker that they were stuck in or out of their cars for months, according to internal documents reported exclusively by TechCrunch in February. Some of these incidents were related to the troublesome Ocean keychain. But the new safety investigation suggests a deeper problem with the SUV’s doors. The investigation is referred to as a “preliminary assessment,” which ODI typically resolves within eight months.


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