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Coda Coming Unplugged

Most staff already gone, battery-car company selling off premier store.

by on Mar.04, 2013

It's now sink or swim time for Coda.

Most of its staff have already been dismissed and now start-up battery-car maker Coda Automotive is closing its flagship showroom, raising questions about whether Coda can hang on much longer without finding a new buyer or some big-buck investors.

Coda, which has been marketing a stripped-down electric vehicle imported from China, had already raised an estimated $200 million in capital raised from such high-profile investors as former U.S. Treasury Hank Paulson — some of whom may now be taking the company to court.

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After a year on the market, sales have barely climbed into the 100s, despite the fledgling carmaker’s claims to deliver more range than almost any other electric vehicle on the U.S. market.

Ironically, according to reports from Los Angeles, where the maker is based, Coda’s store in the busy and exclusive Westfield Century City mall will soon be taken over by its competitor, Tesla Motors.


Massive Cuts at Coda Automotive

Maker trims 15% of workforce as sales lag.

by on Dec.12, 2012

Sink or swim time for Coda?

With sales lagging far behind initial expectations, Coda Automotive has slashed 15% of its U.S. workforce, though it insists it “remain(s) committed” to the nascent market for battery-electric vehicles.

Coda is just one of many manufacturers finding it tough going as American motorists warm up to battery-based technologies at a significantly slower pace than proponents had projected.  The California-based maker, in particular, has sold barely 100 of its Chinese-made battery-electric vehicles so far.

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“CODA has released approximately 50 employees or 15% of our workforce across all functions to streamline our operations and right-size the Company,” a statement issued by Senior Vice President Forrest Beanum confirmed. “The Company is taking this action to better position our business going forward. We remain committed to the continued development and distribution of our products.”


Drivers Want – and Will Pay – for More Efficient Cars

Two new studies show growing interest in alternative power.

by on Sep.13, 2012

Ford will offer both hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of its new C-Max "people-mover."

A growing number of Americans are demanding not only more fuel-efficient cars but those that run on cleaner alternatives to gasoline – and they’re willing to pay, according to a pair of new studies.

That could be good news for manufacturers fretting about the cost of meeting the government’s strict new Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, mandates requiring an average 34.5 mpg by 2016 and 54.5 mpg by 2025.

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“Cost is a key issue,” especially with more radical alternatives such as electric propulsion, said Phil Murtaugh, the head of California-based Coda, a start-up in the emerging market for electric vehicles.


Former GM China Chief Murtaugh Jumps to Battery Start-Up CODA

Latest senior industry exec to push into new technology.

by on Jan.24, 2011

New CODA CEO Phil Murtaugh, shown here while GM's China boss.

Phil Murtaugh, a name long associated with the emergence of the booming Chinese automotive market, will be testing his skills in another emerging automotive market.

Murtaugh, who helped put in motion General Motors’ commanding presence in the Asian nation before signing on with Chrysler’s Chinese venture, will be moving to California to serve as the chief executive officer of the electric vehicle manufactuer CODA Holdings.

“We are thrilled to have Phil guide our team into its next stage of rapid growth in power battery systems and electric vehicles,” said Mac Heller, CODA’s Executive Chairman. “Phil is an industry veteran with large scale manufacturing, sales and marketing experience who has the precise combination of skills necessary to lead CODA’s mission to transform the auto industry by accelerating the adoption of clean, zero emissions technology.”

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Murtaugh landed in China in 1996, when the potential for significant growth was, at best, controversial, and former General Motors Chairman Jack Smith was taking fire for his decision to invest in a country that had far more bicycles than automobiles.  Through 2000, Murtaugh served as Executive Vice President of Shanghai GM, and then, from 2000 to 2005, as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GM China, overseeing a growing list of GM joint ventures.