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Luxury Car Designer Fisker Files Civil Extortion Against British Automaker Aston Martin

By Paul Pajarillo , Jan 10, 2016 11:03 PM EST
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Well-known car designer Henrik Fisker filed civil extortion charges against Aston Martin. He says that the British luxury sports car manufacturer threatened to sue him if the sports car dubbed as the Force1, which resembles the DB10, makes its way to the Detroit Auto Show. As a countermeasure, Henrik filed a civil extortion lawsuit against the British carmaker asking for US$100 million for damages.

Fisker is a recognized designer in the automotive industry. He served as BMW's DesignWorks president before he was brought to Aston Martin. The British automaker only sold 400 cars per year during the mid-90s. By the time Fisker designed two cars for the British carmaker that made it to production, global sales have grown and the company sold 7,000 cars worldwide.

After quitting the British carmaker, Henrik went on to do entrepreneurial work and built Fisker Automotive. His founded company was supposed to deliver a hybrid plug-in electric car but went bankrupt. The company was purchased in 2014 by the Wanxiang Group of China.

Presently, Fisker is set to release the Force1. The car is set to go on production in spring time. However, it is still unclear whether Aston Martin or Fisker will manufacture the 745-HP vehicle, which has a price tag of about US$300,000.

Henrik's lawyers stated that over the past year, the British carmaker has been sending threatening letters to Henrik, and Aston's executives have been making disparaging comments about it in the press in an effort to remove Henrik from the industry.

After a top-view sketch of the Force1 was released in December 2015 by Fisker, the British carmaker sent a letter stating that the sketch looked like the DB10 that was designed for the James Bond movie Spectre.  

Aston Martin's lawyer stated that Fisker must provide assurances that it will not show the Force1 at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show and/or make design changes to the Force1 to avoid conflict with Aston Martin's rights.

With the extortion case filed by Henrik against the British carmaker, he will be asking for more than US$100 million worth of damages, as well as a declaration from the Brits that the Force1 does not infringe copyrights. Henrik calls Aston's tactics as extortion that threatens to impose irreparable damages to him and his company, which makes fashionable car designs. Although Aston thought the complaint was without merit, the company did not comment about it.

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