Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

The iron is hot and the gas is expensive: CODA's first cars roll off the assembly line

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Pacific Swell loves revisiting stories, companies and issues KPCC has covered before. This week it's CODA Automotive. I profiled the Mid-City LA-based company in a story earlier this winter.

CODA clearly believes the best response to the national debate about rising gas prices is to offer a car for sale that needs no gas. "Never has the case for what we do been clearer," said Mac Heller, the company's executive chairman, in Benicia, according to a press release.

Dealerships in Silicon Valley (Del Grande Dealer Group) & San Diego (Marvin K. Brown) will soon offer CODA sedans for sale. In Los Angeles, CODA doesn't seem to have set dealer locations yet, but the company did put its first "experience center" in the Century City Westfield Mall. CODA touts the economic value of the cars themselves AND the jobs it has placed in California--building, marketing and developing them

In answer to the as-yet-unspoken question of Matt DeBord over at DeBord Report, the San Francisco Chronicle offers this answer: 

"People say there's no desire for these cars? There's plenty of desire," said Rick Curtis, director of electric vehicles for the Del Grande Dealer Group, which will open Coda of Silicon Valley in San Jose this week. "We couldn't get enough Leafs, we couldn't get enough Volts, and this is our answer."

I do wonder how well the experience center I visited is drumming up Southern California interest. But this is a big deal for CODA, and the start of the assembly line here in good ol' 2012 is significant for the LA-based startup in a key respect: it means they don't have to worry about unwelcome news of delays that pushed back this occasion for more than a year. With a product rolling off the line, CODA can get back to the basics: which for them means trying to let people outside the enthusiast-EV community known that they exist. 

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