This could be big. It looks like Coda Automotive's follow up to its Sedan might have an especially desirable quality: a low price tag. The California company's cooperative effort with Great Wall Motors has moved on from its LoI (Letter of Intent) status to the official we-are-really-going-forward-with-this stage. As well, the concept behind the vehicle itself has been fleshed out a bit and contracts have been signed, using the Beijing International Motor Show as backdrop.

Apparently, the plan is to combine the strengths of the two companies and develop a vehicle for North American, Chinese, and European markets that would be priced lower than any other EV on the market. Low enough, they say, to compete with entry level gas-powered cars (after government incentives). Take that, Mitsubishi i MiEV and Nissan Leaf!

While Coda comes to the table with an electric drivetrain development experience and an entrance to the U.S. market, Great Wall brings chassis development and mass-production capability – it sold 500,000 units last year and is China's fastest growing automaker. It is also, notably, the only Chinese company to have passed EU Certification standards and has been exporting to Europe since 2006.

It may take until the end of the year before concept designs are released, and several years before Job One is completed. When it finally does hit the open road, expect to see it in the U.S. with Coda branding and in China and other markets bearing Great Wall badging. Buried lede: though still unofficial, this effort may be only the first of an entire lineup of vehicles. Make your way past the break for the official press release.
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CODA Holdings and Great Wall Motors to Jointly Co-develop Affordable Electric Vehicle

Globally leading EV and Battery System developer and China's fastest growing car company to develop affordable electric vehicles globally

LOS ANGELES, April 24th, 2012 – CODA Holdings, a leading developer of all-electric vehicles and advanced battery systems, today announced it has signed a contract with Great Wall Motors Company to co-develop the first all-electric vehicle for worldwide development and distribution.

Designed for the North American, Chinese, and European markets, this co-developed EV is intended to be the most affordable EV on the market, comparable to entry-level internal combustion engine vehicles.

"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 Phil Murtaugh, CEO, CODA Holdings. "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."

The joint effort will blend CODA's leading battery technology, knowledge of the US market and deep experience with global joint ventures with the expertise of China's fastest growing and most profitable automotive producer. Known for its high-quality sedans, SUVs and pick-up trucks, Great Wall Motors is the fastest growing OEM in China, delivering nearly 500,000 vehicles in 2011 worldwide.

Combining the product portfolio and manufacturing assets of Great Wall with the expertise of EV propulsion systems and battery technology from CODA, both companies aim to benefit from their ability to rapidly develop product and manufacturing processes. Products will be developed by employees of both companies in their research facilities in LA and Baoding, China. Vehicles will be sub-assembled in Great Wall's manufacturing facilities in Baoding. Final assembly of US destined vehicles will take place in Coda's facility in the US.

"We're thrilled to combine the expertise of Great Wall Motors and CODA to create a solution to a global problem together," said Wei Jianjun, chairman of Great Wall Motors. "We envision a long-term, successful relationship with CODA, creating industry-leading EVs for our generation and beyond."

About Great Wall Motor Company

Based in Baoding, China, Great Wall Motor Company Limited was the first private vehicle automaker listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and currently has more than 30 subsidiaries and 42,000 employees. Their three primary vehicle lines include the Haval SUV, Voleex Sedan, Wingle Pickup and MPV wagon which accounted for more than 390,000 vehicles sold in 2010, a year-on-year increase of 70%. In 2011 487,000 vehicles were sold, a 23 percent increase over the prior year, making it the fastest growing and most profitable Chinese OEM and the first Chinese manufacturer to pass the stringent passenger car European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA). Among many quality and corporate awards, Great Wall was also listed as a Forbes "Top 100 Chinese Enterprises" twice.

About CODA Holdings

Headquartered in Los Angeles, CODA Holdings is a leading developer of advanced Lithium-ion power battery systems comprised of three key business lines: CODA Automotive, CODA EV Propulsion Systems and CODA Energy. Together with its JV partner, CODA is working to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and leading the way to a cleaner future through its electric vehicles and stationary energy storage products. The first consumer product is a zero emission four-door, five-passenger EV sedan with a full-size trunk that is designed to meet American drivers' daily transportation needs. For more information on the CODA sedan, visit www.codaautomotive.com.


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