It looks like the cost of building the 2011 Fisker Karma under contract with Valmet is higher than the company expected when it set its initial prices in 2008. A price rise of $7,900 came first, and today the company has hiked prices another $8,000 to a final starting price of $95,900.

That's just the starting price however. If you opt for the Sport model, you'll fork over yet another $8,000, and $5,000 more to get the Chic trim.

The Karma is, of course, eligible for a $7,500 Federal tax credit, but that's cold comfort to those looking forward to the $87,900 price promised previously. Start stacking on the options and the tax credit looks even more useless--even if you're in California, where you can get another $5,000 on top of the Federal credit.

For example: you want leather interior? $2,200. Special paint? Another $3,000. Bye-bye tax credits, hello huge monthly payments.

Russell Datz, Fisker's communications chief, explained the situation to MotorAuthority as follows:

"The Karma will be the first car to offer luxury vehicle buyers a truly responsible alternative. At $88,400 after federal tax incentives, the Karma is within $500 of its originally announced MSRP of $87,900. Local incentives offer additional savings. Even with an MSRP of $95,900 the Karma is within 10% of the originally announced MSRP of $87,900 announced in 2009--an incremental change over the course of two years. Also, there is additional value added in design and equipment improvements such as the now-standard integrated solar roof panel, which would have been a $5000 option."

The plan, as of now, is to have the first Karmas available for test drives in late February or early March, with sales to follow later in March or April.

Pricey as it is, the Karma likely won't have any trouble selling its initial allotment. It is, after all, the only high-performance luxury plug-in hybrid/electric sedan expected on the market in the near term, and it's a stunningly good looker, too.

[Fisker via GreenCarReports]