Sorry Fast Company: The “New,” All-Electric, CODA Automotive Sedan, Direct From China, is NOT a “Luxury Car”

[UPDATE: Wired (Magazine, website?) weighs in here with words like "econobox" and "Honda Civic" and "practical EV."]

Ariel Schwartz of Fast Company (Magazine, website, something or other) offers this today:

“Luxury electric car maker @CODAautomotive showcases its EV in a shiny mall store: http://bit.ly/ot8Elq “

But the problem with that is that what CODA makes ain’t luxury cars.

Leaving aside the issue of which companies actually make the parts what make up the electric vehicles that CODA says they will soon be selling (and people have been saying that this car would go on sale at the end of 2008, 2009, 2010, and now apparently, 2011), the CODA Sedan is in no way, shape, or form a luxury car.

Basically, the CODA Sedan is a gussied-up Mitsubishi Carisma from 15 years ago. The concept at the time was to have a big trunk at the expense of having less room in the back seat. It didn’t work out. Tooling was sent to China and a second-tier “regional” carmaker offered it for something like $9000 with a gasoline engine.

Now, for some reason, taking out the most expensive part, the engine (along with the fuel tank and whatnot) and putting in a battery and a tiny electric motor jacks up the price to $45K.

For some reason.

Of course, you could start with your sister’s Honda Civic from the 1990′s and, you know, Pimp My Ride or something, but the result wouldn’t be what you could call a luxury car, I don’t think. In some ways, the CODA would be better, but in some ways the Honda would be better, IMO.

Oh, let’s travel down memory lane. (Do all these links still work?)

“The NYT’s Jim Motavalli has some news about California’s very own electric car company today:

Coda Automotive is a start-up company that will deliver its first $44,900 electric cars to customers in its home state of California “in three to four months,” said its president and chief executive, Kevin Czinger.”

What that means is that, once again, an electric car company is letting you down, ’cause deliveries were just recently promised for the “fourth quarter of 2010.” (Seems as if promises from any kind of car company aren’t really worth that much these days.)

Now, back in the day, in 2007, the electric car we were going to get from China was called the Javlon XS500. It was suppose to come in 2008. It didn’t. Check it:

Miles Automotive on the $30,000 Javlon XS500 all-electric sedan

Then, in 2008, we were promised the Miles XS500. That was going to come in 2009. It didn’t. Check it:

Miles XS500 will be a lot more expensive than planned, maybe

Then, in 2009, we were promised the Coda Automotive Sedan. That was going to come in 2010. It didn’t. Check it:

Coda Automotive Unveils New Mainstream All-Electric Sedan

So, based upon the statement written on the NYT website, I guess it’ll be 2011 before the “final assembly” plant in Benicia, CA starts rolling out product. [Oh, this didn't end up happening, IRL]

(Perhaps it’s easier to badmouth Nissan than fulfill promises? Sure looks that way…)

In other news, Vice President of Global Sales, Marketing and Distribution, Michael A. Jackson has left the building. Mmmmm….

And hey, remember Webvan, that slow-motion car crash of a dotcom company, you know, the one that made a big splash and then soon after went belly up, the one that was brought to you by, among others, Kevin Czinger and Goldman Sachs?

Well, KC and GS are back again with Coda Automotive.” 

And hey, just for fun, compare this last from last year to Solyndra‘s investors and board of directors / advisors. Mmmmm…

Keep chasing those rainbows, CODA!

CODA’s investors include:

  • Aeris CAPITAL – a private Swiss investment office
  • Harbinger Capital Partners – private hedge fund based in New York City, New York.
  • Riverstone Holdings – a private equity firm based in New York City, New York.
  • Piper Jaffray – a U.S. middle-market investment banking firm based in Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Angeleno Group – a Los Angeles based private equity firm
  • EDB Investments (EDBI) – an investment firm headquartered in Singapore
  • Countyline LLC – an investment entity owned by Tony Pritzker and J.B. Pritzker
  • Miles L. Rubin – Founder and Chairman Emeritus of CODA Automotive; former CEO of Detroit Iron & Steel Industries, Reliance Manufacturing, Puritan Fashions Corp. and Polo Ralph Lauren Jeanswear
  • Steven “Mac” Heller – Executive Chairman of CODA Automotive; former Goldman Sachs Head of Mergers & Acquisitions, Worldwide and Co-Head of the Investment Banking Division
  • Tom Steyer – Managing Director of Hellman & Friedman, a San Francisco private equity firm; Founder, Co-Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of Farallon Capital; member of the Board of Trustees of Stanford University
  • Les Wexner – Chairman and CEO of Limited Brands
  • Henry “Hank” Paulson – former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, former Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs and special representative of the U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue
  • Mack McLarty – (Thomas “Mack” McLarty) Former Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton, President of McLarty Associates and McLarty Companies, a transportation business based in Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Kevin Czinger – Senior Strategic Advisor, CODA Automotive; Former President and CEO at CODA Automotive, executive at Global Signal, Webvan Group, Bertelsmann AG, and Goldman Sachs

Board of Directors

  • Miles L. Rubin – Founder and Chairman Emeritus, CODA Automotive; former CEO of Detroit Iron & Steel Industries, Reliance Manufacturing, Puritan Fashions Corp. and Polo Ralph Lauren Jeanswear
  • Steven “Mac” Heller – Executive Chairman, CODA Automotive; former Goldman Sachs Head of Mergers & Acquisitions, Worldwide and Co-Head of the Investment Banking Division
  • Alan Chesick – Acting Legal Advisor of CODA Automotive, former general counsel of Fortress Investment Group
  • Daniel Weiss – Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Angeleno Group LLC, a leading Los Angeles-based private equity firm focused on high growth investments in the energy sector
  • John Bryson – Former Chairman, CEO and President of Edison International from 1990 through 2008, a director at The Boeing Company, The Walt Disney Company, and the California Institute of Technology
  • Niall Davis – One of ten founding partners of Swiss aeris CAPITAL AG, a large global private equity firm
  • Philip Murtaugh – CEO, CODA Automotive; former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GM China, EVP International Operations of SAIC
  • James P. McGinnis – Managing Director, Harbinger Capital Partners
  • Lord John Browne – Managing Director and Managing Partner of Riverstone Holdings LLC, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Chair of the Tate, Member of the House of Lords}}

Board of Advisors

  • Mack McLarty – (Thomas “Mack” McLarty) Former Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton, President of McLarty Associates and McLarty Companies, a transportation business based in Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Dr. Thomas Cardello – Partner of Sunrise Capital, an institutional fund manager, Advisory Director and former MD of Global Electronic Derivative Market making for Morgan Stanley
  • Dr. Michael Wang – Manager of the Systems Assessment Section of the Center for Transportation Research at Argonne Labs, serves as a senior advisor to the Chinese government on new vehicle technology and alternative energy production
  • Henry “Hank” Paulson – former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, former Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs and special representative of the U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue
  • Thomas F. Steyer – Managing Director of Hellman & Friedman, a San Francisco private equity firm; Founder, Co-Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of Farallon Capital; member of the Board of Trustees of Stanford University
  • Woo C. Lee – Head of Asia for the advisory firm JL Thornton & Company, formerly a U.S. diplomat at American embassies in China, Japan, Australia and Southeast Asia
  • Thomas R. McDaniel – Director of SunPower Corp., SemGroup, LP, Cypress Envirosystems, and the Senior Care Action Network and Formerly executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer of Edison International
  • Kevin Czinger – Senior Strategic Advisor, CODA Automotive; Former President and CEO at CODA Automotive, executive at Global Signal, Webvan Group, Bertelsmann AG, and Goldman Sachs”

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