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2012 Coda Sedan: On Sale, But Can You Test-Drive One?

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2012 Coda Sedans on assembly line, Benicia, California, March 2012

2012 Coda Sedans on assembly line, Benicia, California, March 2012

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It’s been nearly four months since deliveries of the 2012 Coda Sedan started, but with the automaker not willing to divulge its sales figures and very few cars spotted on the road, is the automaker in trouble?

According to PluginCars, the Californian automaker’s biggest problem at the moment is availability of cars. 

No test-drives

Even one of Coda’s key dealerships, based in the heart of Silicon Valley, has difficulties giving customers test drives of production cars.  Plugincars reports that one customer, Bob Ostertag, a teacher at U.C. Davis, has been waiting for more than six weeks for a test-drive of a production Coda Sedan. 

Since it launched however, Bob says the local dealer in Silicon Valley has been unable to give him a test-drive in a production Coda.  Nor does it have cars to sell. 

First delivery of 2012 Coda Sedan, at Coda Silicon Valley, to buyer Randy Abraham, March 2012

First delivery of 2012 Coda Sedan, at Coda Silicon Valley, to buyer Randy Abraham, March 2012

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Coda CEO Phil Murtaugh is aware of the problem. 

“You’re welcome to call dealers and they will tell you they are not happy with availability,” he admitted. 

Sales figures?

This is particularly concerning, since production of the 2012 Coda Sedan started in March. Either demand is so high that Coda can’t keep up, or production volume isn’t as high as the launch-day photographs would suggest. 

To date, we’ve yet to encounter a Coda Sedan driver, either anecdotally or in person, so gauging sales figures is particularly difficult. Figures of course, would help clarify popularity of the car. 

But those aren’t coming from Coda. “We purposely don’t publish sales results,” Murtaugh insists. 

2012 Coda Sedan

2012 Coda Sedan

Enlarge Photo

Elusive, bare-boned

It isn’t just customers that have found test-drives difficult. Even the press have struggled to get behind the wheel, with only a few select outlets getting behind the wheel of a near- or production-ready car. 

Those that have driven the car report a car that isn’t quite in tune with American buyers. 

For example, things that you’d expect on pretty much every car today, like cruise control and decent cup holders, aren’t included. 

Some reviewers have also questioned ride quality and comfort of the $38,145 car, asking if consumers will really sacrifice comfort and features in exchange for a car with a slightly larger range than the 2012 Nissan Leaf, 2012 Ford Focus Electric and 2012 Mitsubishi i. 

Will it sell?

Without some time behind the wheel, it’s difficult to tell just how successful the 2012 Coda Sedan will be, but with an apparent lack of cars, we have to admit to now feeling rather concerned about the future of this tiny car maker. 

What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments below. 

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Comments (19)
  1. I went to the Century City (LA) store and did a test drive on February 10. The level of refinement is very poor compared to Nissan LEAF and Ford Focus. It's like a 12-15 year old Toyota Corolla. No cruise control!!! No thanks. Just wait for the Chevrolet Spark next June instead.
     
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  2. @Anton: Just remember the Chevrolet Spark EV is not a volume offering, but a "compliance car" that will be sold in only the numbers required to meet California ZEV mandates--and no more:
    http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1068832_electric-cars-some-are-real-most-are-only-compliance-cars--we-name-names
     
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  3. The number of people actually interested in a Spark EV is quite high, however. I believe they could sell them in higher quantities than they are allocating to the USA. Send some to DC, NYC, Toronto and other metro areas. We could use them in Philadelphia here epecially with the PA rebate of $3500 (until 500 total PIHV are rebated, then it ends). Or Colorado with $6K rebate.
     
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  4. Doesn't make me want to go out and invest in Coda Motors.
     
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  5. Coda's original goal was to be the first affordable EV, but that goal was crushed the second they announced it's price of around 40,000. And I guess keeping it cheap meant it was left cheap in many aspects where the car needed refinement or certain equipment to be considered competitive. I think Coda has be dying a slow death since it's base price announcement, it's original goal that it could have grown from failed that day and unfortunately there was no backup plan. And right now with no demand for the car they may not be building cars because that would only be money spent out of their own pocket.
     
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  6. Affordable? I just picked up a new Volt for $38300 (loaded 2011) and with rebates, it's dirt-cheap. Volt has an order of magnitude refinement over the Coda, national support, goes 1000-miles without plugging in, etc.
     
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  7. Ok, but Coda was originally trying to bring their sedan in somewhere around $20,000. I don't think forty thousand is expensive but the Coda was supposed to be aimed at buyers who would normally be looking at a Honda Civic.
     
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  8. How far without gas? A volt is not an electric car until they get rid of the gas tank that is needed for it to go any distance.
     
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  9. My Volt consistently give me 40-45 miles per charge. More than enough for my daily commute.

    I have ONLY used 4 gallon of gas so far (1112 miles). But those trips are too long for any EVs beside Tesla which is way out of my price/timing range...
     
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  10. @John. The Volt is a very nice car that will reward you with fuel savings if you drive less than 40 miles per day yet it is not comprimised and can be used on longer trips. The Coda will end up being a footnote in the history of electric cars if it is of inferior quality compared to other EV's being marketed. I would rather drive a nice quality fuel efficient ICE than a severely compromised poor quality EV. By the way I drive a Hyundai Elantra and I like it very much. I would however be interested in affordable EV ($30K or less) with 120 miles of driving range. So far none of the manufactures make an EV like this so I will be waiting for a while. I am looking forward to seeing what Tesla has in store for the bluestar sedan due out in 2015.
     
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  11. I'm concerned if it is possible to find a owner of a Coda to even ride shotgun in the car, or if these were real buyers? I want and need Coda to survive even do well, we'll see...
     
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  12. "I'm concerned if it is possible to find a owner of a Coda to even ride shotgun in the car, or if these were real buyers? I want and need Coda to survive even do well, we'll see..."

    @Ben. Unless you are an investor in that company then how does it affect you if a certain company does well or not? I like Tesla because I feel they have the best EV's on the market right now but if Tesla screws up and starts dropping the ball like Coda is apparently doing here by not having any cars available then it too will be in trouble. May the best products win has been my mantra all along. I am not a fan boy at all and I buy the best product for my self based upon reviews and I try it out first.
     
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  13. I got to test-drive a Coda at the Silicon Valley dealer, but it was a unit with known brake issues. I told them the brakes felt really squishy and they said they knew that one had problems. So, haven't driven the "good" one yet.

    This was at the event where they delivered a Coda to a buyer.

    The silver dealer car was in a July 4th parade in San Jose as part of the EAA fleet. There were 17 pure EVs participating including 7 LEAFs. We were supposed to have a Tesla but that driver didn't show.
     
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  14. Another car that will not meet expectations.
     
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  15. Coda's out of their league at $40k. My new Ford Focus Electric is, IMHO, VERY "refined" at just a little over that price tag--AND with cupholders, cruise control, rear-view camera, sat radio, Bluetooth and all the other techno-toys as standard equipment.

    Good luck Coda, but I don't think you're long for the CA mar
     
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  16. I mean "... market! (And sold only, for now, in California as well? Rotsa ruck!)
     
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  17. I am also curious on its crash results. I wonder if the Coda will do as well as the Leaf and Volt did...
     
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  18. Cruise control, on a car that has a 100 mile range, are we really that lazy?
     
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  19. It looks so old and outdated already....at least it has an 88 mile EV range rating... only Telsa has more range...

    MrEnergyCzar
     
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