Coda Woes Deepen: More Layoffs, Electric-Car Store Closed

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2012 Coda Sedan

2012 Coda Sedan

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The storm clouds continue to darken over electric-car startup Coda Automotive.

The day after Christmas, the company announced on its Facebook page that it had closed its Coda Experience Center showroom in the Westfield Mall Century City.

Then, last Friday, Coda laid off more staff. That day, the company released the following statement:

On Friday, January 4th, CODA furloughed a number of employees as the Company takes necessary action to bolster its financing and better position the business going forward. 

The Company has kept in place a sufficient number of staff to keep the Company operational and remains committed to the continued development and distribution of its products. 

During this period, CODA will continue to provide service to its dealers and customers. 

While unfortunate, we are confident this temporary action will allow the Company to strategically direct resources towards critical operations and put the Company on a more sustainable path.

Coda said that the Westfield Mall location logged more than 3,500 test drives out of more than 40,000 "meaningful engagements" with visitors.

The 2012 Coda Sedan remains available at three dealerships, in Los Angeles, Irvine, and San Diego.

The additional layoffs come just three weeks after Coda laid off 15 percent of its staff in early December.

At that time, a report in Plug-In Cars said Coda has sold 100 or fewer copies of its battery-electric compact four-door sedan.

2012 Coda Sedan

2012 Coda Sedan

Enlarge Photo

The company has never released any sales figures since its car went into production in March.

And without the 18,000-plus depositors of Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA], another electric-car startup, the silence on sales figures is not a good sign.

This past September, Green Car Reports tested the 2012 Coda Sedan and reported that it performed adequately and seemed to deliver a viable 100-mile range in real-world use.

But the cars offered for test drives suffered numerous design flaws that would irritate drivers, not to mention worrisome quality and assembly issues.

Overall, we felt the Coda Sedan would be at a major disadvantage against plug-in electric cars from established brands like Nissan or Chevrolet.

Will Coda survive to fight another day, or will they follow the fate of Think Electric Cars and other small automotive startups?

Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.


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Comments (26)
  1. I look forward to the day when non-competitive cars (e.g. coda) and compliance cars (e.g. RAV4, fit, focus ev, etc) are no longer part of the EV discussion. It is time to move forward with "real" EVs.

  2. I agree. I especially don't like "pathetic" and poorly engineered EVs that is expensive and inefficent.

    This is the infancy of the EV age. We need great product such as Tesla S to uphold the image of EVs...

  3. I think if they closed up the shop they are really closing up shop.

    Sad day, another EV initiative bites the dust.

  4. coda sounds like the teething problems Hyundai had. Hyundai had the pockets to come back. I think Coda would have done better in a market like hong kong or singapore or even japan or europe, then starting in the US

  5. That was my predication about 2 years ago.

    CODA will be lucky to make it past 2013.

    Fisker will be lucky to make it past 2014/2015.

    Mitsubishi will most likely cancel the i-Miev by 2014.

  6. Guess the future of a car company is only assured once they have grown to the point they are "too big to fail" and the cost of failure can passed on to the taxpayer like GM.

    Oh well, at least that got us the Volt, the car GM realised it needed to do after the EV-1 PR debacle just in case a new goverment coming to power on a platform of "change" might be less inclined to pull the tax payer's purse without proper green credentials. Guess that makes the Volt GM's most profitable car ever.

  7. @Chris O,

    You need to give it a rest to your hate toward GM's EV-1 program.

    It was a freaking 2 seater that was way too expensive for its time. How many 2-seater hybrid are sold recently? How many tiny electric cars sold recently? Less than 1%.

    As far as too big to fail, I am NOT here to debate. Toyota and Honda both received bailouts from Japanese government. Ford survived by seeing this coming and mortgaged everything they could, included the famous blue oval. So, the only thing GM didn't do is to mortgage everything.

    Sorry to burst your silly bubble, Telsa is assisted by the tax payer money as well.

    Unlike you, I don't think substandard EVs should represent EVs in general.

    What EV do you drive again?

  8. This is not about hate Xiaoling, it's about putting things in historic perspective. Even if you don't want to hear it, the way GM handled the EV-1 program was a major PR fiasco and knowing it would need a bailout one day GM no doubt did what it felt it needed to do to mend fences.

    No doubt with it's deep pockets GM could do an engineering job that was far superior to that of a struggling start up like Coda, but I think a bit of respect is in order for their efforts.

    Most of your comment is a bit neither here nor there frankly but trying to suggest that being allowed to have an opinion here is related to claims of EV ownership is really very lame, Xiaolong Li.

  9. Really? We are discussing the EV-1 program that ended 14 years ago? Don't you think it's time to move on?

  10. "No doubt with it's deep pockets GM could do an engineering job that was far superior to that of a struggling start up like Coda, but I think a bit of respect is in order for their efforts."

    Deep pocket?

    Or you mean capable engineering team? At the end of the day, it has to design something that is a good product.

    I don't care whether it is a from a startup like Tesla or a large auto maker like GM or Toyota. It has to be a good one.

    I criticize bad EV/PHEV/EREV equally. You should have seen plenty of critism from me on how terrible CODA, FISKER or PIP are. I also heavily criticized GM's "mild hybrid" as well.

    If it is a bad design, I will call it out.

    We don't need bad products to give EV bad names anyway.

  11. "GM no doubt did what it felt it needed to do to mend fences."

    From everything I read, GM did the Volt program to prove that Tesla is NOT the only company that can do electric cars. And Telsa proved that only Si Valley had the capability to do something new instead of Detriot. In a way, Tesla "forced" GM to revisit the "electric" car.

    I am just tired of hearing about EV-1 and all the "historical" perspective. Most of the "historical" perspective was "biased" without taking the cost and customer base into consideration. And please don't bring up the film either...

    Can we just move on?

  12. There are more comments in this thread
  13. The argument aside, what difference does it make what car he drives?

  14. Personal committement.

    EVs/EREV/PHEV aren't ready to be massively adopted yet. Choices are few in between and upfront price premium is high. But many people (less than 1%) are buying it b/c it is a cool technology and offering a chance to push the demand for this technology.

    We don't just talk. We put our hard earned money down as well.

    It is easier to complain about something that happened 15 years ago. In fact, they got NOTHING to complain about. It was a LEASE program. NO difference from the BMW E program or the Honda E-Fit. (or even Honda's Clarity) Yet, none of them whine about that nearly as much...

  15. I realize you are quite desperate to shut people up about GM's sometimes rather sordid past but of course everybody has the right to have critical opinions here.

    If you insist on discrimination I can think of a few criteria that make more sense than claims of EV ownership:

    -really having something to add to the discussion
    -not engaging in personal attacks against those whose opinion one disagrees with
    -being able to make a point that at least makes some sense and is at least somewhat understandable for other readers
    -not always promoting the same car or idea in every posting

    I can think of a few self declared EV owners on this forum (usually Volts somehow..) whose names wouldn't appear here any more with criteria like that.

  16. Also: is driving a Volt really about commitment? Between the range extender and the bargain basement lease deals I think most Volt drivers are mostly committed to minimizing their personal sacrifice while maximizing their plug-in benefits.
    Nothing wrong with that but it hardly warrants the whole holier than thou attitude.

  17. There are more comments in this thread
  18. I saw this "car" at the Anaheim Auto show this past year. I don't think you can make an uglier car for the money. Inside was cramped and uncomfortable. I would rather buy a used 90's Civic than this.
    They would have been smart to make a sexy hybrid, like the Honda CR-Z butter better. Than I would buy.

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