Posts Tagged ‘David Herron’

Apparently, Nobody Wants to Buy the All-Electric CODA Automotive Sedan for $40K – Layoffs at Benicia “Assembly” Plant?

Friday, July 20th, 2012

I’ll tell you, the process of taking a very tired gasoline-engined Mitsubishi / Volvo economy car and plopping in a battery and an electric motor isn’t going so hot for CODA Automotive.

Get the updates here.

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Nobody’s buying this car.

Nobody’s releasing sales numbers for this car.

But, here you go, have at it and buy one today – I don’t care.

The “Bay Area-Made” Coda Automotive Electric Car Finally Gets Its Big Review in the New York Times – Uh Oh!

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Well, here it is, from the NYT’s Bradley Berman – it’s the big review of the little POS electric car that’s actually made in China but final-assembled in troubled Benicia, way out there in the eastern part of the North Bay.

Here’s your warning that things aren’t going so hot:

“The company even brought its chief executive from China. Coda hired Philip Murtaugh in 2011, a former top executive at the Chinese operations of General Motors and Chrysler. At the 2011 Los Angeles auto show, Mr. Murtaugh expressed concern over the reception for the car’s styling in the American market. First produced nearly about a decade ago, it gives the impression of a knockoff copy of a Y2K Nissan Sentra or Honda Civic. “The vehicle was chosen three years ago,” he told me. “I came in nine months ago. We couldn’t change it.

So, the reason why your state-subsidized vehicle sucks is Somebody Else’s Problem?

And then there’s this, the primary selling feature in some of the Coda ads, the large trunk:

“Yes, the trunk is cavernous, but I would gladly give up three inches of trunk depth for more legroom in the back seat.”

(The reason why the trunk is so big is that the Coda Sedan is actually a two-decade-old Mitsubishi Carisma designed for the European market, which, at the time, was in need of a little car with a big-ass trunk. Things didn’t work out, so the factory was shipped to China. I’m srsly.)

OK. Moving on.

To this:

“…difficult to accept the shortcomings of the Coda at its current price, despite its ability to grant 100 miles on a single charge.”

Yep.

Here it is. Actually it looks more like a 1992 Honda Civic 4-door sedan with giant aftermarket wheels, to my eyes: 

I’ve been telling you about this venture, this unholy alliance of Goldman Sachs execs (the people who brought us the failed WebVan, srsly, the same exact people), assorted federal government hangers-on (bureaucrats who know nothing about cars, electricity, or batteries or whatever), the People’s Republic of China, and other ne’er-do wells, for years now.

And then when the car comes out and its time for the Big Review from the sainted NYT (which had been pretty positive on this issue of this piece of junk), Coda Automotive gets a thumbs down.

Oh well.

That’s not much to show considering all the government subsidies this company is getting.

(And, mind you, this is after they lowered the MSRP down from the originally-planned $45,000(!), as I and host of others (the so-called haters) have been suggesting for a good long time.)

But at least twenty people in Benicia have jobs at the final assembly plant what are paying In-and-Out level wages….

Finally, Here Come the Chinese Cars – Electric CODA Sedan on Sale This Month – Oh, But It’s a Big, Fat, Expensive POS :(

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Get your David Herron Torque News right here and leave us begin…

From the same people who brought you WebVan (that would be Goldman Sachs people, you know the people what help create and the people who actually made money off of ridiculous WebVan) comes CODA: 

Direct from China, I mean, everybody just loves the People’s Republic of China these days, am I right, and only a half-decade late and now only about $10,000 overpriced, it’s your CODA Automotive Sedan:

Hold on a second, little piggy, let’s get some lipstick on you and somebody get Tianjin on the horn and ask them if they can get FoxConn to make us some dubs for the sport model, tell them we’ll offer $15 a piece: 

“Coda Automotive is in the final stretch before beginning first customer deliveries of the company’s all electric sedan.”

AND HAS BEEN FOR MORE THAN HALF A DECADE. HOW MANY THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE HAVE BEEN DISSAPOINTED WAITING FOR THIS CAR TO COME OUT BY THE “END OF 2008,” THE “END OF 2009,” THE “END OF 2010,” THE “MIDDLE OF 2011,” THE “END OF 2011,” THE “END OF JANUARY 2012,” THE “END OF FEBRUARY 2012,” AND NOW “THE END OF MARCH 2012?”

The Coda Sedan is partly manufactured by a Chinese automobile manufacturer,

IT’S A CHINESE CAR THOUGH, RIGHT? ACTUALLY, IT’S A FAILED MITSUBISHI/VOLVO JOINT FORMERLY CALLED THE MITSUBISHI CARISMA. IT CAME OUT IN 1994. THE EUROS DIDN’T WANT IT SO IT WAS NEVER PROPERLY DEVELOPED. THE PRODUCTION LINE TO MAKE THE CARISMA WAS SHIPPED TO CHINA. BUT UH OH, THE CARISMA FAILED IN THE CHINESE MARKET TOO, AS A $10,000 GASOLINE-ENGINED CAR. ANYWAY, THE BODY (THE DRIVETRAINLESS “GLIDER,” PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING YOU CAN SEE) IS MADE IN CHINA, AND THE BATTERY IS MADE IS CHINA, AND ALL THAT THOSE PEOPLE IN BENICIA DO IS SLAP THE TWO TOGETHER, FUNDAMENTALLY. THEY CALL IT “FINAL ASSEMBLY.”

and is shipped partially assembled to a facility in Benicia, CA, near San Francisco, for final assembly.

OH, I SEE YOU REALIZE THAT. WOULDN’T THE CODA BE A BETTER PRODUCT IF FINAL ASSEMBLY WERE DONE AT ONE OF THE FACTORIES IN CHINA? YEP. IT’S LIKE A BOX OF KRAFT DINNER – IF THE PASTA PART IS MADE IN CANADA AND THE CHEESE POWDER PACKET IS MADE IN CANADA BUT KRAFT SHIPS THE BOXED PASTA AND CHEESE PACKETS TO BENICIA, CA FOR “FINAL ASSEMBLY,” WOULD YOU SAY THAT THAT KRAFT DINNER WAS “MADE IN AMERICA?” OR “AMERICAN MADE?” CODA WOULD.

It is roughly the size of a standard size sedan, with an outline that is completely compatible with what we think of as a normal car.

A NORMAL TWO-DECADE OLD CAR. ALSO, ITS A BIT SMALL, LIKE A 1994 HONDA CIVIC.

The Sedan comes with a 31 kilowatt-hour battery pack offering a 125 mile range on the UDDS test cycle, for an MSRP of $37,250. It is also available with a 36 kilowatt-hour battery pack, a 150 mile range, and an MSRP of $39,500. In both cases the cost of the Coda Sedan is comparable with the Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus Electric and Chevy Volt, while offering a much longer electric range.

IN BOTH CASES, IT COSTS MORE THAN A NISSAN LEAF, RIGHT?

The Sedan has an outstanding value proposition in comparison with other electric cars.

ABSOLUTELY FALSE.

It’s electric range is the longest of any non-luxury battery electric vehicle.

THE TESLA ROADSTER IS NOT A LUXURY CAR. IT HAS A LONGER RANGE.

This is further than the comparably priced Nissan Leaf (80-100 miles versus 125+)…

UH, LOWER-PRICED NISSAN LEAF. YOU KNOW THE NISSAN LEAF RIGHT? IT’S A MODERN CAR, ONE FROM THIS MILLENNIUM…

It has “best-in-class charging capability”, meaning the Coda’s on-board charger is 6.6 kilowatts for 25 miles gained per hour of charging, versus the 3.3 kilowatt charger on the Leaf.

I’LL GRANT YOU THAT. NISSAN ADMITS IT MADE A MISTAKE WITH THE CHARGER. THIS IS NOT A BIG DEAL THOUGH.

It has “best in class torque and horsepower”, with a 100 kilowatt (134 horsepower) electric drive offering 221 ft-lb’s of torque.

MEH.

The 10 year, 100,000 mile battery warranty is also “best in class”,

ANY WARRANTY FROM A CRAPPY, LYING COMPANY LIKE CODA CAN’T BE CONSIDERED “BEST IN CLASS.”

…as is the 14.1 cubic feet of trunk space.

PART OF THE REASON WHY THE CARISMA FAILED IS THAT THE MAKER, NEDCAR, MADE THE TRUNK TOO BIG AND THE BACK SEAT TOO SMALL, SO THERE YOU GO.

Its price (MSRP) per mile of electric range is a “best in class” $292/mile versus $352/mile for the Nissan Leaf, $392/mile for the Ford Focus Electric, and a whopping $428/mile for the Mitsubishi i-Miev.

THIS IS A RIDICULOUS STAT.

The various ad

WELL PLAYED, NO ERRORS IN _THAT_ SENTENCE.

Hausch also presented two tables comparing cost of ownership of the Coda Sedan against the Toyota Prius and Toyota Corolla.

UH, ARE YOU CONFLATING THE BEST CAR COMPANY IN THE WORLD WITH ONE OF THE WORST? I THINK SO.

In both cases the Coda Sedan was shown to be cheaper to own, but this depends on which way the price of gasoline goes. The cost of ownership model comes from Edmunds, and accounts for the depreciation (the difference between purchase price and residual value after 5 years), taxes and fees, financing costs, fuel costs, insurance, maintenance, and repairs. Because the Coda Sedan is more expensive than either the Prius or Corolla, the depreciation and financing costs are higher, however this is more than made up for in fuel, maintenance and repair costs.

SO A SAN FRANCISCO RESIDENT RENTS A GARAGE TO HAVE A PLACE TO CHARGE A CODA AT NIGHT. THERE GOES YOUR BUDGET.

With $4/gallon gasoline, according to Coda’s figures, the five year ownership cost for a Toyota Prius Liftback IV is $43,268, while for the Coda Sedan it is $40,038. For the Toyota Corolla LE, and $5.50/gallon gasoline, the totals come out to $41,177 for the Corolla and $40,038 for the Coda. But, wait, you’re going to say gasoline doesn’t cost $5.50/gallon. Yes, the national average gas price is much less than that, today. Some parts of California are currently, today, paying over $5 per gallon for gasoline.

AGAIN, YOU CAN’T COMPARE POORLY-ENGINEERED VEHICLES WITH ANY TOYOTA PRODUCT. YOU’RE FORGETTING THAT THE CODA SEDAN IS A BIG POS.

Gasoline prices are far more volatile than are electricity prices, and electric car owners are immune to gasoline price shocks such as the one currently unfolding around us.

AM I SHOCKED TO SEE GAS OVER $4 AGAIN? NO.

See also Why electric cars are cheaper to drive than gasoline cars.

UH, NO THEY’RE NOT.

Enough about all that, what about the car?

YES. LET’S.

First off, the fit and finish are excellent

NOPE!

and it looks really nice.

NOPE!

The prototype Coda brought two years ago was drab and humdrum by comparison, and clearly Coda’s designers have spent the last two years focusing on details.

FROM HITLER TO GANDHI OR SOMETHING, HUH?

It’s a five seater sedan, however reports from those who sat in the rear seat said it was a bit cramped.

YES YES YES, INDEED. A BIT CRAMPED.

The drivers seat was comfortable with controls where you expect them. Except, that is, for the gear shifter. Instead of a shift lever to select between Park, Reverse and Drive, one turns a knob. The knob is straight-forward to use, but is different than normal and will require a bit of an accommodation period. Coda’s knob makes more sense than the one in the Leaf.

DISAGREE.

Handling is responsive with no lag between turning the wheel and direction changes.

WOW! IT TURNS LEFT _AND_ RIGHT!

Acceleration is good,

NOPE!

however we were driving on city streets giving limited ability to fully test this. The regenerative braking was pleasant and almost good enough for a one foot driving driving style where you accelerate, then let regen slow the car. Regen response starts soft, then as the car slows down the regen braking becomes stronger, almost to the point of completely stopping the car, at which point the regen lets up and in order to actually stop one has to operate the brakes.

SOMETHING I DIDN’T KNOW. OK.

Coda has already made first deliveries of the Sedan to dealerships, including the Del Grande Dealership Group (DGDG)

REALLY, THE DGDG? HURRAY! LET’S ALL GO THERE NOW AND BUY BUY BUY!

which will handle sales in the SF Bay Area. Hausch says the company is on track for first customer deliveries beginning in March 2012.

“ON TRACK” SINCE 2007, RIGHT?

The Sedan is sold only in California.

THE SEDAN WILL ONLY BE SOLD IN CALIFORNIA, RIGHT? FOR NOW, ANYWAY. HEY, WHEN IS CODA GOING TO GO FULL SOLYNDRA? PLACE YOUR BETS.

In short Coda has put together a very good value proposition,

NOPE!

a low cost of ownership,

NOPE!

excellent all-electric range,

WE’LL SEE.

while packaging all this in a nicely appointed sedan.

NOPE!

The company’s main challenge, as a small automotive startup, will be getting the attention of potential buyers who are accustomed to going to the large automakers.

THE COMPANY’S MAIN CHALLEGE WILL BE TO MAKE A PRODUCT THAT PEOPLE WILL WANT TO BUY. THE SEDAN ISN’T A PIECE OF CRAP BECAUSE CODA IS A STARTUP, IT’S A PIECE OF CRAP BECAUSE CODA DID A CRAPPY JOB.