NHTSA initiates investigation into Fisker Ocean due to potential door malfunction

The U.S. auto safety regulator announced on Wednesday that it had initiated a preliminary investigation into Fisker’s 2023 Ocean SUVs following complaints that the doors of the electric vehicles were sometimes unable to open, adding to the challenges faced by the financially struggling startup.

According to the regulator, the Office of Defects Investigation received 14 complaints citing intermittent failures of the latch and handle, preventing the driver, front passenger, and/or rear doors from opening. Some reports also mentioned that the emergency override mechanism failed to work as well.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will conduct a preliminary evaluation to determine the extent and seriousness of the potential issue in order to evaluate its impact on safety. It is possible that the regulator may close the investigation into Fisker without taking any further action.

Fisker, which recently faced delisting from the New York Stock Exchange for non-compliance with listing requirements, has not yet responded to requests for comment.

NHTSA is also probing two previous incidents involving Fisker, one related to problems with the 2023 Ocean SUV’s brakes and the other regarding unintended vehicle movement.

Fisker is currently dealing with uncertainty after discussions with a major automaker for a potential investment fell through, prompting the company to explore options such as restructuring or seeking new capital through various means.

Last week, the company announced plans to lower prices of its 2023 Ocean SUV models in order to stimulate sales and generate funds to meet debt obligations as its cash reserves dwindle.

Similar to other electric vehicle manufacturers, Fisker is contending with stiff competition and hesitant consumers delaying significant purchases due to higher interest rates and economic volatility.

On March 18, the company disclosed its decision to halt vehicle production for six weeks.