YouTuber’s negative Fisker review turns into a saga

Marques Brownlee called the Fisker Ocean the “worst car I have ever reviewed”.
Thanks to Autofocus

  • YouTuber Marques Brownlee’s negative review of Fisker’s Ocean SUV made waves on social media.
  • A video of an apparent attempt by a Fisker employee to contact Brownlee has also gone viral.
  • A Fisker spokesperson told BI that it is responding to feedback and has begun rolling out a software update.

YouTuber Marques Brownlee called Fisker’s EV “the worst car I’ve ever reviewed,” and his negative review has become quite the saga online.

Brownlee’s lackluster review of the Fisker Ocean SUV generated more than 4.3 million views on YouTube in the past two weeks. In the video, Brownlee points out several software-related issues, including warning lights coming on multiple times and the inability to control the output of the car’s sunroof. He also repeatedly encountered problems with the car’s key fob, among other complaints about the vehicle.

Brownlee, who said he declined to participate in any paid or sponsored coverage of the brand, initially asked Fisker to provide a vehicle for review, but he said they kept delaying. So instead he found a third party willing to lend him the car: J&S Mitsubishi.

Fisker discovered that Brownless had gotten the car from an outside source and asked him to wait until the car could receive a major 2.0 software update before he could review it, Brownlee said.

He refused.

“It’s not really my policy to wait for promised future software updates,” Brownlee said in the YouTube video. “I’m going to review the car that is available now and that real buyers live with.”

Brownlee continued his review and posted the video online on February 17. The YouTube star gave a shout-out to the dealer, J&S Mitsubishi, in his video.

And then things got strange.

A viral TikTok

A few days later, on Sunday, George Saliba, the owner and general manager of J&S Mitsubishi, posted a video on TikTok of a phone conversation he had with a person who identified himself as a senior field engineer from Fisker. The video was recorded without Fisker’s knowledge.

“Can I pull out your fingernails as part of an inquisition?” the person said with a laugh after introducing himself as a Fisker engineer, according to video of the phone call on TikTok. “I’m going to ask you a few questions, if you don’t mind.”

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“We have a customer who we believe bought a car from you and is blowing up social media and we are trying to track him down,” the person said, later adding that his review had caught the attention of “the entire senior management. “

In the video, the person who claims to have worked for Fisker asks for Brownlee’s contact information and the VIN numbers of all Fisker Oceans the dealer has sold.

Saliba explains to the person on the phone that the Fisker in question is his, and that Brownlee does not own the car he reviewed; he just borrowed it. The person on the phone said Fisker was trying to contact them to send someone to update the car’s software, and that now that he knows Brownlee is not the owner, he could schedule someone to come to Saliba in the coming days to assist.

The software update “will fix a lot of problems, but it’s not the holy grail of fixing Fisker, which I’ll be very candid about,” the man on the phone said. “There are still some holes in it. We still have to redo some more software. We still have to look at it a little bit more, but it will improve the car significantly.”

While it’s not unusual for an automaker to try to address issues raised in a negative review, the series of events caught even more of the public’s attention. Saliba’s video has been viewed more than 3.4 million times since it was shared on Sunday. Its popularity seems to have led even more people to watch Brownlee’s car review, the most viewed video on his car review channel as of Tuesday.

A spokesperson for Fisker declined to comment on the TikTok video.

“We saw George’s TikTok this weekend,” Miles Somerville, producer for Brownlee’s YouTube channel, said in an emailed statement. “It seems like Fisker handles unbiased reviews differently than most people. But we have been communicating with the Fisker team about possibly getting started on an Ocean model with updated software. That could happen at some point in the future. “

A Fisker spokesperson told BI that the company has been monitoring customer feedback since the car launched last year and is already shipping the latest software update to customers.

“Fisker continues to introduce new features that improve both driving performance and comfort,” the spokesperson said. “As adoption grows and the number of drivers and miles driven increases, our innovations are tested under a wider range of conditions that show how we can improve. Nearly all of the issues identified were limited to early vehicles, and we are working with early adopters to address issues they may have had.”

Despite the negative review, Brownlee said the car wasn’t all bad and that he enjoyed the look of the car.

“I think the theme here is that it’s just a young company that doesn’t really know yet exactly what they’re doing with a lot of these choices,” Brownlee said.

He also said he was open to revisiting the car to see if the software update fixes some of his issues, but he’s not sure all of his complaints can be resolved by software changes alone.

The automaker released the Fisker Ocean SUV in June 2023. During the company’s earnings call last week, the company warned that Fisker might not have enough cash to survive 2024.

The company is Fisker’s second automotive startup. His previous startup, Fisker Automotive, filed for bankruptcy protection in 2013. Fisker launched its second car company in 2016.

Do you work at an EV dealer or do you have a Fisker? Contact the reporter via a non-work email address and device at gkay@businessinsider.com

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