CODA gives up on DOE loan, forms partnership with Chinese automaker

CODA Automotive has signed a contract with Great Wall Motors to co-develop a new EV for the North American, Chinese, and European markets. CODA CEO Phil Murtaugh told the Detroit News that the new car will be “the most affordable EV on the market, comparable to entry-level internal combustion engine vehicles.” He added that the new car would be based on an existing Great Wall model.

Also this week, CODA confirmed that it has withdrawn its application for a $334-million loan from the DOE, after waiting more than two years for the loan to be approved. The company planned to use the federal money to build a battery plant in Columbus, Ohio, but will now shift battery production to China. Chrysler and other automakers have also withdrawn requests for DOE loans, citing unfavorable terms and long waits for approval.

The news isn’t all bad for American auto workers. The two companies plan to develop the new car jointly at their research facilities in Los Angeles and Baoding, China. Sub-assembly will take place in Baoding, but final assembly of vehicles for the US market will be at CODA’s facility in California.

This is definitely a much-needed shot of good news for CODA, which has had trouble meeting deadlines, and has admitted that sales of its new sedan amounted to “a low number.” Great Wall Motors is the fastest growing automaker in China – it sold almost 500,000 units in 2011.

“This marks the launch of our partnership with Great Wall Motors that will enable us to bring EVs to global markets in a very efficient and cost effective manner,” said Murtaugh. “We’re excited to work with Great Wall Motors to develop the second product in CODA’s portfolio, to bring another solution to a global problem and together make high-quality clean technology accessible.  Ultimately, this will enable drivers worldwide to go electric affordably and support our mission of putting an EV in everyone’s garage.”

 

Image: Coda