Not long ago, I happened to get connected with a high-up at Coda. A few back-and-forths seemed to confirm what was pretty clear already – the carmaker was doomed. There are a lot of potential reasons for the failure – and, in actuality, it’s probably all of them combined.
For one, Coda didn’t seem to be on anyone’s radar. I almost never saw anyone hype the car.
As Chris DeMorro of Gas2 notes, the ‘Coda Coda’ (Coda Automotive is the name of the company and its only model) “offered adequate range in a very boring, Chinese-built package.” Some might like the design, but yes, it was designed to look like a common car, nothing more.
Furthermore, the car wasn’t cheap. At $US37,250, it needed something more exciting (which it didn’t have) in order to compete with the Nissan Leaf and a range of other plug-in electric cars.
Coda tried offering 10,000 miles of free charging to boost sales in October 2012, but you know the cliché – too little, too late.
In most regards, it seems Coda was average – it did raise $300 million in private capital, but it was denied a $334 million Department of Energy loan (I believe Fisker and Tesla were the only electric car companies to get those loans).
The company isn’t looking to go away completely, however. It is now “focusing its business strategy on the growing energy storage market,” according to the Coda website (which is currently just one simple page of text).
As DeMorro notes, that’s not such an easy market either: “Filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a Delaware court, Coda will attempt to reorganise itself around an energy storage solutions plan. The company will use the same battery packs, but will forgo the whole car part, entering a far less capital-intensive (but some would argue still over-saturated) marketplace.”
Looks like I need to head on over to our “Electric Cars For Sale In 2013” page and remove the Coda and the Fisker Karma.