Electric-Car Startup Coda Automotive Files For Bankruptcy

May 1, 2013

Coda Automotive has become the latest casualty of the cut-throat electric car industry, today filing for bankruptcy.

The company will dissolve the carmaking business and instead put its efforts into Coda Energy, a stationary battery storage business it started in 2011.

According to The Detroit News, Coda CEO Phil Murtaugh said in a statement, "After concluding a comprehensive review of our strategic options, the board of directors, management team and senior lending group have concluded that focusing on the company's energy storage business presents the best opportunity moving forward.

"We believe the restructuring process that we have entered into today will enable the company to complete a sale and confirm a plan that maximizes the value of its assets, serving the best interests of our stakeholders."

The restructuring means the death of the 2012 Coda Sedan, which suffered delays throughout its conception before finally going on sale in July 2012.

OUR ASSESSMENT: 2012 Coda Sedan: First Drive

Like similarly ailing electric automaker Fisker Automotive and its Karma range-extended electric car, the Sedan's transition onto the market was anything but smooth.

First, it made a poor showing in track testing by Inside Line. It then scored only two stars in NHTSA frontal crash testing.

December saw 15 percent of Coda's workforce laid off, and more went in January--before the company slashed prices of its Sedan to only $24,995 a week or so later.

Coda Holdings, the company's parent, is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware. An affiliate of the company, Fortress Investment Group, is leading a consortium of lenders to provide debtor-in-possession financing, allowing the energy side of the business to remain unaffected throughout proceedings.

Coda Energy uses the same core technology as that found in the electric Sedan--an aspect Coda has long claimed to be ahead of the curve in terms of energy storage and thermal management.

It's a shame that we'll not now get to see what Coda could come up with for its proposed second electric vehicle, said to be planned for 2014.

But with reportedly only 100 or so Coda Sedans sold, the company has faced the same issues as so many before it--financials aside, it was simply producing a product that few wanted to buy.

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(c) 2013, High Gear Media.

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