The luxury electric carmaker intends to buy the Classic Home Furniture site on Beach Boulevard.
California-based Karma Automotive intends to enter the Jacksonville market in March to sell its line of luxury electric vehicles whose new GSe-6 will start at almost $80,000 when it debuts in the first quarter.
The GSe-6 is the brand’s first pure battery electric vehicle.
The site is at northeast Beach Boulevard and Interstate 295.
Dealer Principal Val Ranguelov, president of Karma Albany and Bul Auto Sales and Service in Albany, New York, said he had a choice to open the Karma dealership in Tampa or Jacksonville.
“We found a lot more opportunity in Jacksonville, a nicer environment and overall economic growth. Jacksonville is so vast and is expanding constantly,” Ranguelov said Nov. 8.
He said he visted Jacksonville about 12 years ago and has been coming regularly to town, where he has longtime friends.
“We strongly believe it is a better opportunity.”
Ranguelov said he expects to invest more than $5 million to buy and renovate the property and open the dealership.
Property owner Harbor Point Properties LLC is seeking a zoning exception and an administrative deviation for Karma Automotive Distribution LLC to operate a service garage for repairs and retail sales of new or used autos by a franchised dealer at the 1.042-acre site at 11619 Beach Blvd.
It is identified as a showroom of high-end, luxury electric vehicles.
Classic Home Furniture is closing there and selling its inventory. It has been in business for 43 years and occupies a 16,481-square-foot building at the location that was developed in 1989.
Plans show a 10,000-square-foot showroom with a 6,500-square-foot service area on the site for Karma Automotive.
Ranguelov said his group will buy and remodel the site.
“I am a firm believer in repurposing,” he said. “The building is safe and sound, just very dated, so we will end up remodeling.”
He expects seven to 10 jobs to start in sales and service. “We are going to become part of the fabric of the community.”
Attorney Cyndy Trimmer, a partner with Driver, McAfee, Hawthorne & Diebenow, represents the property owner in the zoning applications.
Ranguelov said he has owned Karma Albany for more than three years and his other dealership for 21 years.
He said there are 38 Karma dealerships worldwide, including 25 in the United States.
There are five dealerships in Florida in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Naples, Orlando and Palm Beach.
Ranguelov said Karma Automotive will take in higher-end trades for a pre-owned inventory.
He said the Karma experience is “effortless and hassle-free, white glove.”
“Similar, but better and more unique, to that of Bentley and Porsche,” he said. Both of those brands have Jacksonville dealerships.
Ranguelov said inventory in the beginning will depend on supply-chain conditions, but said Karma Automotive promised him 13 vehicles for the grand opening. He also intends to open with some pre-owned Karmas.
“I think Jacksonville will embrace us,” he said.
Asked about the Tesla electric-car brand, Ranguelov said it is “not remotely close” to Karma.
“We are a boutique manufacturer,” he said. “Tesla is mass-produced.”
Tesla has a showroom at St. Johns Town Center.
According to Reuters, Chinese auto parts producer Wanxiang Group bought the assets of bankrupt electric car pioneer Fisker Automotive in 2014 and formed Karma Automotive in 2016.
Based in Irvine, California, with a production facility in Moreno Valley, Karma says it sells vehicles through its dealer network in North America, Europe, South America and the Middle East.
Irvine-based Karma Automotive Distribution LLC registered its name with the Florida Division of Corporations in 2016.
Karma produces the Revero GT, Green Car Journal’s 2020 Luxury Green Car of the Year.
The hybrid electric vehicle is powered by dual electric motors “that embodies Karma’s goal of offering leading technology with a luxury experience.”
In 2021 it announced the GS-6 Series, which includes both an extended-range series hybrid EV and Karma’s first all-electric vehicle.
It says its Innovation and Customization Center, which opened in 2017, “offers world-class customization, and manufacturing services along with electrification platforms.”
The production facility “provides a unique space for Powered by Karma’s project completion.”
“KICC’s flexible production lines allow for contract manufacturing of diverse mobility products from high end luxury vehicles to advanced powertrains and even low speed commercial vehicles,” it said.
On Sept. 1, Karma Automotive and the Las Vegas Raiders announced Karma was named the “Official Luxury Vehicle of the Las Vegas Raiders and Allegiant Stadium.”
“The loyalty and devotion exhibited by the team’s die-hard fans is reminiscent of the excitement we receive from Karma enthusiasts,” said Karma Automotive CEO Lance Zhou in a news release.
In February, Karma announced the GS-6 Series, which retains the design of the Revero GT but, starting at almost $84,000, “at a more attainable price point for drivers who want the environmental benefits of an electric vehicle, without sacrificing design or performance.”
Motortrend.com prices the 2020 Karma Revero at $135,000.
In April, Karma announced the creation of three custom GS-6 vehicle variants to commemorate the initial production run of its 2021 GS-6 extended-range electric vehicle.
The California Design Theme GS-6 sedans feature custom badging and color combinations from the Karma Design staff.
The special edition vehicles also have performance modifications.
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