• May 10th 2010 at 7:57AM
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Coda EV Sedan – Click above for high-res image gallery

Perhaps Coda Automotive heard Tesla's chief executive officer Elon Musk discussing the company's intention of selling vehicles at Apple-style stores or maybe Coda just knows how successful the iPod maker is. Whatever the case, Coda CEO Kevin Czinger has decided that his company will employ the "genius bar" approach that has made Apple so successful. Coda will not use the traditional auto dealer model. Instead, it will begin with one retail store staffed with "geniuses" in California and seven other satellite locations where test drives of the electric vehicle (EV) will be available.

In addition to ditching traditional dealerships, like Tesla, Coda has decided that the service department is also a thing of the past. Now, if you're thinking of buying a Coda vehicle and are worried about what will happen when it breaks down, Coda will offer some peace of mind with a three-year, 36,000-mile warranty and an eight-year guarantee on the battery. So, no need to worry, right? Coda has you covered if you need service, but not in the traditional service department sort of way. Instead, Coda will contract warranty and maintenance work out to trained Firestone technicians at 75 Firestone locations throughout the U.S.

Coda's CEO also offered up some more info on the all-electric sedan. According to Czinger, the price should be somewhere between $30,000 and $35,000 for the 120-mile range electric sedan. The company hopes to drop the EV's price and offer increased range within the next five years. Coda has long said it wants to make and sell 15,000 units by the end of next year; initially, the EV will be offered only in California, though others markets will be added after launch.

Contracting service and eliminating dealerships will lower Coda's start-up costs, but will the fact that there are no Coda dealerships and no service departments lead to no sales, too? Or is this unique approach exactly what's needed to successfully sell this far-from traditional car? At any rate, we're glad to hear a slew of updates from a company that's been a bit too quiet lately.

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