Fisker unveils VLF Force 1 V10 supercar after lawsuit against Aston Martin

Henrik Fisker, far right, sued Aston Martin last week for $100 million, alleging the British auto company tried to prevent him from unveiling the car. Photo credit: REUTERS/Gary Cameron

VLF Automotive unveiled its Force 1 V10 supercar, a week after it became the subject of a suit between designer Henrik Fisker and Aston Martin.

The Force 1, a heavily modified Dodge Viper two-seater with an 8.4-liter V10 engine with 745 horsepower, was unveiled by Fisker, VLF partner Bob Lutz, entrepreneur Gilbert Villarreal and race car driver Ben Keating at the Detroit auto show today.

Fisker sued Aston Martin last week for $100 million, alleging the British auto company is trying to prevent him from unveiling the car. Aston Martin said a top-down sketch of the car too closely resembled its DB10 car it designed for the James Bond film “Spectre.”

Fisker said its design takes its cues from American styling and does not resemble the DB10 at all.

“This is an American supercar,” he said. “We’ve created a very unique design here that stands up for itself.”

Blastin' Aston

He blasted Aston Martin, his former employer, while speaking to reporters following VLF’s press conference.

“To me, it was a threat,” Fisker said. “Stopping the competition, that’s not the way to do it. You create cool cars to compete with each other.”

Pricing for the Force 1 starts at $268,500.

Initial production will begin in April at VLF’s production facility in Auburn Hills, Mich., north of Detroit, and will be limited to 50 units. VLF said it will start delivering the car in the third quarter and will be available exclusively through Keatin’s Viper Exchange.

The Force 1 is marked by its carbon fiber body, 21-inch wheels and thin headlights, as well as its rear wing spoiler and long hood. The car can reach a top speed of 218 mph and can go from 0-60 mph in 3 seconds.

The interior is just as luxurious as its exterior, coming equipped with wi-fi, hand-stitched leather and suede and a champagne holder.

10 weeks to produce

Lutz said it took VLF just 10 weeks to produce the vehicle from the time a sketch was drawn up.

The former General Motors vice chairman said VLF, which also offers modified versions of the Fisker Karma called the Destino, said that he and Villarreal have invested less than $10 million in the company to this point.

“To get two production cars ready for that amount of money, I challenge anyone to do it,” Lutz said, saying the company’s “no-frills” approach allows it to work efficiently.

Lutz said VLF, formed last week after Fisker joined his and Villarreal’s VL Automotive, has “modest” volume goals.

“If we do close to 100 cars in 2016, we’ll be very satisified,” Lutz said.

Small niche

He said the company aims to cater to a small niche of luxury buyers that desire a unique vehicle but would prefer for it to be made in the United States or Detroit. He pointed to Chrysler’s “Imported From Detroit” ad campaign and marketing by Detroit-based watchmaker Shinola as examples of companies using a “made in Detroit” image to great effect.

He said VLF will work with a small group of dealerships in the U.S. to sell its vehicles, although it will not have any exclusive dealerships.

VLF’s display on the floor of Cobo Center is in a corner near the large Toyota and Lexus displays. Lutz said its location on the main floor of the show was important for the company.

“A couple of years ago we were out in the mezzanine and not very many people saw us and the stand wasn’t that big,” he said. “It was better than nothing, but it’s important for us to be recognized as a legitimate OEM and to be presented on the main floor of Cobo.”

You can reach John Irwin at jirwin@crain.com

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