Coda Withdraws DOE Loan Request, Will Build Overseas
Late last week, Coda Automotive announced that it withdrew its $334 million loan request to the US Department of Energy. Coda says that its loan application was stuck in a "holding pattern" for two years, and that it couldn't wait any longer, after a two-year delay in a response to its request.
Technically, Coda withdrew its request in March, but the automaker waited approximately one month to make its actions public.
Now that Coda is clear of DOE-backing, it's free to develop and manufacture vehicles in any country it sees fit. Forrest Beanum, Coda's senior vice-president of government affairs, told Automotive News, "We just needed to continue operations overseas to meet our business plan." The Coda Sedan will continue to be sub-assembled in China before it ships to the US for final assembly. It now seems likely that future Coda vehicles will also be fully built overseas.
The start-up automaker had hoped to use DOE funds to construct a vehicle and battery assembly site in Columbus, Ohio, creating up to 2,000 jobs in the process. However, the DOE's lack of action means that Coda had to scrap those plans and will now most likely employ additional workers overseas.
The DOE's slow response has led to the demise of Bright Automotive —
making it even more difficult for start-up EV makers to survive — and pushing back plans from major automakers (such as Chrysler) to produce advanced technology vehicles. Fisker was also delayed by the DOE's reluctance to make a loan decision.
As the DOE continues to delay the process, more and more automakers either back out of producing advanced technology vehicles in the US — or turn their attention to other countries more amenable to supporting the plug-in future of the automobile.
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