California-based Coda Automotive trimmed 15 percent of its workforce last Friday. In a statement released yesterday the electric vehicle manufacturer acknowledged the layoff of approximately 50 employees.
News first broke of the decision to euphemistically “right-size” Coda – as the company referred to the layoffs – last Tuesday on PluginCars.com.
An anonymous source within Coda revealed to PluginCars.com that 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.”
“They just cut everybody they possible [sic] could,” said the source. “Their sales department went to just a handful of people. It’s a real mess.”
PluginCars.com also reported that the source said Coda was running low on funds and is having difficulty finding customers.
Last month Coda was the recipient of the Patrick Soon-Shiong Innovation Award from the Los Angeles Business Journal. The award from the business trade journal recognizes organizations and executives with proven influential innovation and business development prowess in Los Angeles, an honor that should buoy any company’s image, if even by a small degree.
However, recent news that Coda’s sedan – the one vehicle currently offered by the company – received a two star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for frontal crash impact on the driver’s side may sap consumer enthusiasm.
A score of two stars isn’t failing, but major brand automakers often see four stars or more in the same tests. The Coda’s passenger side received four stars for frontal impact, and in rollover testing the car rated five out of five stars.
Coda’s four-door vehicle, powered by a 31-kilowatt-hour lithium iron phosphate battery, earned only an 88-mile range rating from the U.S. EPA, but under more sedate driving scenarios has seen its range top 125 miles. The car, currently available only in California, has a top speed of 85 mph, seats five, can recharge in six hours at 240 volts, and retails for $37,250.