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Coda Automotive Needs Funding to Finish Delayed Electric Sedan

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2011 Coda Sedan at Hertz Global EV rental launch, New York City, December 2010

2011 Coda Sedan at Hertz Global EV rental launch, New York City, December 2010

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What does $50 million buy you? We can think of plenty of good things we could do, but according to Californian electric car firm Coda Automotive, $50 million is how much it needs to bring its four door all-electric sedan to market. 

According to The New York Times, Christopher Rose, the company’s senior vice president for corporate development told the paper last weekend that the final stage of investement would be used “to finish the car”.

Finish what now?

Finish the car? Wait a second. You see, we’re a little confused. 

This time last year, the Santa Monica based firm was doggedly predicting it would be the first all-electric mainstream car to make it to market, beating both the 2011 Nissan Leaf and 2011 Chevrolet Volt to market. 

Exodus

And so it continued. Every few weeks we’d see a new press release from Coda, confidently predicting a Fall 2010 launch, until it became dreadfully obvious that something wasn’t right at the company. 

Former Coda Automotive CEO Kevin Czinger

Formeer Coda Automotive CEO Kevin Czinger

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First to go in early November was Michael Jakson, Senior Vice President of Global Sales, Marketing and Distribution.  Less than a week later he was followed by former Goldman Sachs executive and company CEO Kevin Czinger.

Jackson and Czinger weren't the only ones to leave either as Coda reformed itself which involved a turnover in publicity staff. 

The current company CEO, Philip Murtaugh, joined the firm in January after a CEO hiatus which saw Coda’s board of directors co-chairman Steven Heller take the company reins. 

Failed deadline

It was no surprise then, one week after Czinger's departure, the company finally admitted what had become increasingly obvious: it wasn't going to make its own Fall 2010 deadline. 

The reason for the delay? Quite simply, Coda admitted that the car wasn’t ready for primetime, a bold move but one which has done nothing to lift its reputation as an automaker. 

Second half of 2011?

Surprisingly, Coda remains adamant that it will launch in the second half of 2011. But with funding still needing to be sourced and with the first quarter already a distant memory we’re struggling to see just how it could pull this off. 

2011 Coda Sedan electric car, at 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show

2011 Coda Sedan electric car, at 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show

Enlarge Photo

Even automotive giants like General Motors, Ford and Chevrolet would struggle to achieve  a lesser goal in such short a time. 

That said, $50 million isn’t a huge sum of money when it comes to automotive development. If the Coda Sedan is in its final stages of development, expect the $50 million to go towards tweaks in handling, U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) compliance and pre-production runs. 

Even if Coda finds investors soon, we remain doubtful. 

Is the firm doomed to be another of history’s also-rans, will it disappear without a trace, or will it really pull the metaphorical rabbit out of an ever-shrinking hat? 

We’ll have to see. 

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Comments (12)
  1. what is different about coda is that they have huge ties in the battery department. in fact, that might be a bigger part of their company than the car is.
    i dont think the company will be an also ran, but whether the sedan will come out in august like they said, is another question.
    at this point, with the tsunami, the leaf has not really sold enough to make any sort of a real start, either.
    in my opinion, the whole ev industry has been delayed a full year from what we thought.
    however, 2012 is supposed to see a lot of evs from various companies, including ford, if i recall.
    i am more concerned with how all the other companies do, as opposed to how coda does. i want to see that snowball start down the mountain.
     
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  2. Coda will dispear with a trace if they plan to sell the vehicle over $40,000. Not to many consumers will buy for that price. Better off purchasing the Leaf or Volt depending on your driving needs.
     
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  3. Coda's business plan: sell an inferior product, for more money, from an unknown brand. I could respect this company if they had the decency to throw in the towel.
     
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  4. #3 Rick - Well you didn't leave me anything to say, LOL.
    Nikki - Doomed IMHO.
    I dunno, do we want to invest any money to help them out? Ahhhh, I don't think so. Maybe they should call Warren Buffet.
     
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  5. an inferior product ? coda does have a thermal mgmt system, and more battery power. why not get your facts correct before making those sorts of comments.
    the price is what hurts them the most. not so much this first year, but they do need to get that more in line.
    although i certainly would not be bragging about the overpriced volt.
     
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  6. Umm, yes, what Rick said...Also, Coda executives have long said(before they began bailing out?), there will be a market for their sedan (only?)because the other makers are not capable of shipping enough product to sate market demands. Now it appears that in addition to pushing a vehicle that would sell ONLY because other OEM's can't build enough, Coda's current resource base enables them to ship no product at all. In conclusion, What Rick said.
     
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  7. EV enthusiast. Yes it's true, the price could hurt them, if they actually do sell a product. Will it? Will they? And, If I tried to sell you a 2011 model car, on a really outdated chassis, skinned with a really outdated body, would you call my product inferior?
     
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  8. not sure what you mean by an outdated body and an outdated chassis ?
    the words "inferior" and "superior" refer to the quality of a product.
    "outdated" typically refers to something that is not of the most current style. it has nothing to do with quality.
    personally, i like the style of the coda much better than either the leaf or the volt. it has a cleaner, simpler, more symmetric appeal to me. but again, that is just personal opinion of what looks good to one persons's eyes.
    as i already stated, the coda has a thermal mgmt battery system, and a battery that lasts longer. these would be 2 items that one would place in the "quality folder".
    we just need to wait to see if/when they deliver the sedan.
     
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  9. click my name for the entire article in the new york times.
     
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  10. click my name for the coda channel on you tube.
     
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  11. So far, a fair guess would be that only Tesla has
    succeeded in understanding where the electric car is at this point in time. It has nothing to do with the mechanicals, which, after tall, are far simpler than a gas jobbie. It has to do with what we all know is the obstacle : costly battery packs. I will even argue that, with the 300 (or even 230) mile Model S,
    and its 45 minute recharges, electrics have become more or less completely competitve with ICEs in terms of functionality. At the Model S' price level, it is also economically very competitive. But below
    $40K, forget it. Only large corporations can put out the cash for these money-losing models, and Coda ain't in that position. I don't think it could succeed even sans competitors.
     
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  12. well, coda has a big presence in the battery industry. i would imagine that they have access to them like a big corporation would. even next year the prices will have dropped.
    dont be surprised to see the price of the first codas is dropped. i certainly am not writing them off.
     
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