When Marques McCammon was named president of Karma Automotive in March, one of his immediate tasks was to contact Michelle Christensen who seven months earlier had joined the southern California ultra-luxury EV manufacturer as vice president, global design. McCammon wanted to assure that Christensen, who had led the 2017 remodel of the iconic Acura NSX supercar, was on-board to develop a completely new Karma vehicle portfolio by November…That’s November 2023.
“I explained that Michelle’s design work at Acura, which perfectly melded with the NSX brand platform, was the strategy I wanted to adopt at the new Karma,” says McCammon. “Then I told her you’ve only got eight months to get it all done.”
Under Karma’s new operating mode, the company’s branding, engineering and design teams have worked with the organization’s Advanced Technology Center. “We resemble more of a woven fabric than a linear string like most automakers,” says Christensen.
“This is the challenge of a lifetime,” she adds. “Designing vehicles – especially high-end exotic vehicles – historically takes several years, but our collaboration and ingenuity with low volume techniques has produced a seamless, gorgeous representation of our Karma identity. This is an animal that is very pure, a beautiful new flagship/halo that is all at once futuristic and will age gracefully.
“We’re creating low, long and fast vehicles that compare favorably to any high-end European brand.”
Nicholas David, Karma’s senior director of design and “captain” of the company’s interior design strategy, says, “Exotic vehicles are usually a little cramped. Without getting into specifics, we took the elements that encroached on passengers and made them explode away. And the cleanliness of the interior is remarkable – we’re showing sophistication by hiding everything in plain sight … until it’s needed.”
On Nov. 11 at the Wynn Concours in Las Vegas, Karma will reveal its initial lineup of battery-electric sports tourers, including its first super coupe, as well as the company’s rapidly paced product plan to put new Karmas on the road throughout 2024 and beyond.