Exclusive: First Reports of Massive Layoffs at Coda Automotive

By · December 11, 2012

Coda sedan

Coda Automotive, the California-based maker of an all-electric sedan primarily produced in China, last Friday laid off more than 50 employees, including a substantial part of its sales and marketing staff, according to a source familiar with the company’s business. The source, who contacted PluginCars.com about the news, wants to stay anonymous based on concerns about possible “blow back” from Coda executives.

The anonymous source said the company had sold fewer than 100 units of its all-electric sedan since it went on sale in March 2012—and that sales had virtually stopped after the car was recalled by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (for faulty safety equipment) in August. Last week, the Coda sedan earned only two of five stars in recent federal testing of frontal impact—making it even more difficult to instill confidence in prospective customers.

“They just cut everybody they possible could,” said the source. “Their sales department went to just a handful of people. It’s a real mess.” The source indicated that Coda was running low on funds, and that it was having great difficulty finding individual or fleet customers.

John Gartner, an automotive analyst at Pike Research, is not surprised by Coda’s difficulties. “Coda has not been able to gain traction with consumers or fleets,” he said. “Coda's launch vehicle has not been viewed favorably as consumers have not been willing to compromise ‘just’ to have a vehicle with an electric drivetrain.” Gartner said the founders are likely to shift their attention towards developing their battery technology for other vehicle platforms and for grid energy storage.

Forrest Beanum, Coda's senior vice-president of external affairs, issued this statement to PluginCars.com: “CODA has released approximately 50 employees or 15% of our workforce across all functions to streamline our operations and right-size the Company. 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."

This post was updated with the response from Mr. Beanum, a few hours after being first published.


· Spec (not verified) · 5 years ago

Greenvehicles, Aptera, Think, . . . . . now Coda? It is a brutally difficult field. There will be more victims.

· SoCalGreenMan (not verified) · 5 years ago

As gas prices hover around the 'affordable' range middle class consumer level alternate energy automobiles sales stay low.
When gas prices peak so will alternative energy automobile sales.
I look forward to having middle class consumer price range cars available.
Hang in there CODA!

· Modern Marvel Fan (not verified) · 5 years ago

CODA is just a poor attempt. Expensive, unsafe, NOT great looking, lower efficiency (miles/KWh) than most other EVs out there. With today's competition, it just won't work...

· · 5 years ago

I agree with Marvel Fan (and many others that I have listened to), the Coda looks about 20 years out of time, isn't that great technologically and even worse- is a CHINESE CAR! No thanks. I am betting that more lay-offs are yet to come (as unfortunate as this is).

· iletric (not verified) · 5 years ago

Why did they even bother to start. I could see its troubles mile away. It's owned by the Chinese military, it is pretend-made in Benicia, and it's a poor-excuse-for-BEV, whiny, unstable piece of crap.

We alredy have enough microwaves here. Go home and take car of your gray skies.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

I would never, ever consider buying a Chinese-made car. They should not have marketed the car here in the first place. There are no redeeming qualities to this car. Is anyone surprised they are not selling? Just another example of China dumping more of their crap product in the market to make their production numbers look better

· Objective (not verified) · 5 years ago

That's some pretty anti-Chinese rhetoric. Some might define that as racist. There's a book, "The Imperial Cruise", that covers much of the history of American-Chinese interaction over the past 150 years or so. It's very interesting.

As for Coda... it's a battery electric car. None of them are worth the price. Not Coda, Fisker, iMev... not Tesla either. They will all fail eventually. They would all fail within a year without copius government financial support propping them up.

· Warren (not verified) · 5 years ago

The Coda may be a copy of an old Japanese car. However, at 88 miles, it has the longest EPA range of any available EV. I am not counting the Tesla S, as it appears even millionaires are having to wait to get one. :-)

· Anonmyous (not verified) · 5 years ago

I won't buy a car whose body is made in China. I don't even care that over 40 % of the vehicle is made elsewhere or how much engineering was involved to make sure that the vehicle meets US standards. I'll just sit back with my Chinese made iPhone and drive my 60% + Chinese made car and bark. What? Hell no I haven't driven it. I just repeat what I want to hear and totally ignore the objective reviews.

· John Doe (not verified) · 5 years ago

I just feel sorry for those ~100 poor suckers who bought this vehicle due to the generous warranty... On the other hand they have a collectible.

· Warren (not verified) · 5 years ago

John Doe,

Don't feel too sorry for them. The Chinese LiFePO4 cells in the Coda will still be delivering 80 miles range when the current NMC cells in the Leaf are recycled.

· · 5 years ago

The RAV4 EV is over 100 miles range. It is available. Cars.com says there are 23 available at SF Bay Area Toyota Dealers today.

Coda: $38,000 88 mile range
RAV4 EV: $50,000 104 mile range
Model S 40kWh: $58,000 ~150 mile range
Model S 60kWh: $68,000 208 mile range

· Matthew (not verified) · 5 years ago

More and more layoffs. Just lovely. according to letthelayoffsbegin.com it is already past 60,000 since the election. fabulous.

· Christopher (not verified) · 5 years ago

Well, I do have a Coda and solar panels so I drive for free, and the car will pay for itself in 6 years just on the gas alone I would have been using @ 3.50/gallon. I do get about 110 to 120 miles on full charge and once ran 138. Coda list it as a 125 max range, It all has to do with how you drive, don't be a lead foot and you can extend your range! I love this car and how it drives, and yes I am Republican! With the Free Home charger and State and Fed credits (2500/7500) it brought the price down to a normal car range, I have to say I am an Owner and Raving Fan!

· Dave (not verified) · 5 years ago

Really the problem with any electric car is going to be range. Full electric cars are a decade away to be a practical form of transportation for all but true diehards. You throw in a start up company, with a product manufactured in China. I would have seen the nails in the coffin before the first one rolled off the line. I just hope that no taxpayer dollars are invested in this company, especially since mfg was in China.
The damn fiscal cliff deal had pork for the electric motorcycle industry, what a shame. I would rather see those funds used in PV or Thermal solar projects.

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