Luxury Car Company VLF Automotive Launches – Wall Street Journal

Posted: Saturday, January 09, 2016

The VL Destino debuted at the 2013 Detroit auto show.

Car designer Henrik Fisker, former General Motors Co. executive Bob Lutz and manufacturer Gilbert Villarreal on Friday launched a new luxury car company, VLF Automotive, which is slated to present two vehicles at the Detroit auto show next week.

Mr. Fisker makes official an emerging partnership that began to take shape in 2013, when the three men teamed to present the VL Destino, a 638-horsepower car born out of Mr. Fisker’s scrapped effort to build an electric vehicle, at that year’s Detroit auto show.

“When Gilbert and I formed VL Automotive in 2012, we wanted to take Henrik’s beautifully proportioned design, replace the hybrid gas-electric power train with a Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 drivetrain, and create a bespoke four-door luxury car with outstanding performance,” said Mr. Lutz.

The newly minted company will be based in Auburn Hills, Mich., with Mr. Lutz as chairman, Mr. Villarreal as chief executive and Mr. Fisker heading design.

The company is slated to present a redesigned Destino and a second car, the Force 1, at the coming auto show.

VLF expects to have seven dedicated dealers in the U.S. with several more overseas this year. The Destino V8 retail price starts at $229,000.

Mr. Fisker earlier this week filed a $100 million civil suit against his former employer Aston Martin, which he claims is trying to prevent him from showing his new car.

The suit claims civil extortion, asking for punitive damages of $100 million, and declaratory relief, which asks the court to declare whether Mr. Fisker’s new car design infringes on trademarks owned by Aston Martin.

Calls seeking comment from Aston Martin weren’t immediately returned.

Mr. Fisker had joined Aston Martin in 2001 and worked there through 2004, designing the V8 Vantage and the DB9. He left the company to start his own electric-car business, Fisker Automotive Inc., which raised $1.2 billion in venture capital and a $192 million federal loan before filing for bankruptcy. He resigned from Fisker Automotive in 2013.

Mr. Lutz held senior leadership positions at GM,




Ford and Chrysler over the course of a 47-year career. The 83-year-old Mr. Lutz stepped down from his position at GM in 2010.

Write to Ezequiel Minaya at


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