This thing prolly has like 20,000 calories.
South of SFO and north of expectations:
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Oh Nativists, will you ever win?
I remember seeing CODA Automotive’s first SFMTA bus stop ad back in 2010. I thought, “Man, what a turkey.” That’s the year I started the DeathWatch.
This whole CODA concept appeared to be another big fat loser from Goldman Sachs and that’s exactly what it turned out to be.
Ah memories, memories from 2010:
“Whatever You Do, DON’T Put $499 Down on the $45K, Mostly Chinese, All-Electric Coda Sedan
I’ll tell you, the Mitsubishi Carisma didn’t exactly slay the European market when it went on sale a decade and a half ago. Simply, it wasn’t popular. Then a regional car maker in China tried to take the design from Mitsu and make a version to sell to the Chinese in 2005. It wasn’t popular there neither, even at a price of just $10,000. It, as they say, “lacked quality to make a mark” in the Chinese market. O.K. then.
Well, they went and took out the gas engine and fitted it with a big heavy battery and a lightweight motor and that’s how we’re getting the 2011 Coda Automotive Sedan at a price of, wait for it, Holy Toledo, $44,900. That’s the news of the day, 45K, officially.
Should California and the feds give you tax credits to buy this thing if all Coda Automotive is going to do is raise the price sky high?
What a POS this thing is. Just look at it. In some ways better, and in some ways worse than your sister’s ’94 Honda Civic:
Now, they’re going to have a showroom in the bay area soon and they’re going to let you take a test drive starting next month. Fine, test drive the thing, I don’t care. But don’t give them a deposit, don’t encourage them.
All right, what about the all-electric Nissan LEAF, the Coda Sedan’s arch-rival? The LEAF is better and cheaper.
Here’s what an overly-excited CODA fan was saying about the LEAF last year:
“It’s an alien-looking buggy with small wheels and no nose that won’t look like a real car to American buyers”
Uh, no, that’s incorrect. Sorry.
Hey, here’s a question:
Why is the LEAF so much cheaper than the CODA?
Yes the CODA has a big trunk that the LEAF lacks but so what. (The CODA has small rear seat area because of that big trunk, so oh well.)
“More ominously for the company, the sedan is more expensive than the Nissan Leaf, which will retail for $32,800 before incentives. Put another way, the Leaf is almost as cheap before incentives as the Coda is after incentives. And Nissan has a well-known brand name and years of automotive experience.”
Here’s another question:
Why does the CODA cost so much more than the Chinese design it’s based upon?
Here’s another question:
How on Earth can people call the CODA an American car if the bulk of it, the glider (basically the entire car except for the battery/transmission) is made in one factory in China and the giant battery is made in another factory in China? What’s that, you wait for the boats to arrive in L.A. County Contra Costa? Solano?, Alameda? (one of them counties anyway) and then slap the battery and various whatnots inside the glider and that’s your “final assembly” in America? I cry foul.
Let’s face it, the Coda Sedan is a Chinese car, whether you like that or not.
Now, speaking of tough sells, let’s look at some of the marketing we’re getting from the CODA people. Go ahead, click and read along:
“The CODA might be the most agile car you’ve ever driven.”
“Do you know the feeling of stomping the pedal and waiting for the car to build speed? Those days are over. The experience of driving a CODA is completely different.”
Well, I know what a Chevy Chevette Diesel automatic is like. It’s slow, with a o-60 time of 20 seconds plus. I know your CODA is quicker than that, but is the experience of driving the thing “completely different” from other cars? Nope.
“It’s small, energy-dense UQM PowerPhase® electric motor packs a punch, and weighs hundreds of pounds less than internal combustion engines.”
How can a motor be “energy-dense?” Shouldn’t you be talking about the energy density of the battery instead? Speaking of which, how much does the battery weigh? Isn’t that the more salient aspect?
“So whether you’re standing still or moving at a good pace, you’ll get instant torque and acceleration when you need it.”
You’re selling an electric car on this basis? Isn’t the CODA slower than the average car being sold today? Yep.
All right, caveat emptor.
All the deets, after the jump
But tell me if I’m wrong, tell me if the final assembly facility in Benicia starts chugging out product all of a sudden ala Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory.
Otherwise, I’m concluding that Coda is dead. It’s not responding to stimuli, anyway.
Get the story here, just keep on clicking back in time to learn about the star-crossed Coda Sedan.
Why did we, the taxpayers, subsidize Coda when it was obvious that it couldn’t succeed?
I don’t know.
Now back 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:
Adieu, Coda Automotive.
Then, in 2008, we were promised the Miles XS500. That was going to come in 2009. It didn’t. Check it:
Then, in 2009, we were promised the Coda Automotive Sedan. That was going to come in 2010. It didn’t. Check it:
And on and on.
Coda’s investors include:
Why on earth are we subsidizing the totally crummy CODA Automotive electric car company? It baffles me. What makes it a good company, what makes it worthy? Nothing.
Anyway, here’s the latest, as expected, the first recall notice has come early, before CODA even delivered 100 cars worldwide.
Here’s their “Statement” about the matter:
“CODA Automotive is committed to safety and has voluntarily recalled* 78 of its 2012 CODA model year vehicles within the VIN range of 53G1U4A48CB000026 to 53G1U4A48CB000260. The recall campaign was issued because of the potential that the side curtain airbags in certain vehicles may not deploy as intended due to an improper installation. Certain 2012 model year CODA vehicles may have this condition. There are no known injuries related to this recent discovery. CODA Automotive holds itself to the highest safety standards and continually strives to offer the most reliable product for its consumers.”
Now, I’ll ask you, how many tens of thousands of these vehicles were supposed to have been sold by now? Well, I’ll answer you: SEVERAL! And yet this recall notice shows just how unpopular this product is, even though I can think of at least four huge subsidies the government grants to its owners.
Oh, but what’s this, it’s a non-crappy electric car what’s cheaper than anything from Coda. It’s a Nissan Leaf, which the Coda people have been criticizing for years. Oh well. Anyway, adorable, non?
BTW, 35,000 LEAFs have been sold so far, worldwide.
So, CODA, why don’t you take your assets and try to give them to the govmint to make up for all that you have cost us?
Solyndra shut itself down, so can you!
*This recall is a nothingburger, really. I mean, my giant Toyota doesn’t have side-curtain airbags and nobody’s recalling it, right? The recall notice is important because it gives us a clue to CODA’s abysmal sales….
Also, they’re coming back to the bay area, believe it or not. Fox Theatre, October 5th.
True Faith video
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.
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.
“…difficult to accept the shortcomings of the Coda at its current price, despite its ability to grant 100 miles on a single charge.”
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.
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….