December 12, 2012 / 8:21 PM / in 5 years

Electric car startup CODA cutting 15 pct of staff

LOS ANGELES, Dec 12 (Reuters) - U.S. electric car startup CODA Automotive has cut 50 jobs, or 15 percent of its staff, it said on Wednesday.

The move will “right-size the company” and “better position our business going forward,” CODA said in an emailed statement. It will continue to develop and distribute products, the company added.

CODA, like Fisker Automotive and Tesla Motors Inc, is one of several startups focused on electric cars.

But electric vehicles have struggled to find an audience beyond Hollywood celebrities, Silicon Valley venture capitalists and policymakers in Washington, primarily due to their premium pricing and anxieties about their driving range.

Industry research firm Edmunds expects pure electric cars and plug-in hybrids to make up only 1.5 percent of the U.S. market in 2017, compared with 0.1 percent last year.

The CODA five-passenger sedan, rolled out earlier this year, costs $37,250 and goes 125 miles on a single charge. In California, incentives lower the price of the sedan to $27,250. CODA would not reveal how many vehicles it has sold.

Earlier this year, Coda recalled 78 of its sedans in the United States due to a potential side-airbag issue, according to U.S. safety regulators.

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