Coda Automotive is abandoning plans to build a battery factory in Columbus, a decision that will mean the region will miss out on the more than 1,000 manufacturing jobs that would have been created.
The Los Angeles-based automaker announced its plans for central Ohio two years ago, and later applied for a federal loan of more than $500 million to help pay for construction. The company has waited ever since for the Department of Energy to act on the loan application, leading many local leaders to become pessimistic that the project would ever happen.
"As any company grows/evolves, it constantly needs to re-evaluate its business plans to support its upward trajectory," Forrest Beanum, Coda's senior vice president of government relations and external affairs, said in an e-mail. "Coda remains committed to job creation and is grateful for the leadership of the elected officials and public/private sectors of Ohio that supported us in the (loan) application process."
The Dispatch reported on Coda's plans this afternoon, citing a source who knew of the decision. Beanum's comment was in response to this report.
Since Coda applied for the loan, the Department of Energy has come under fire for its loan to Solyndra, a maker of solar panels that later went bankrupt, and for aid to other electric car companies. Amid this criticism, the agency has made almost no new loans, and some lawmakers have called for changes to the programs.
"Government spending is being heavily scrutinized, and certainly that is one factor contributing to why this money is so slow to be distributed," said Ed Kim, director of industry analysis at AutoPacific in Tustin, Calif.
Earlier this month, Coda began selling its debut sedan to customers in California. The car is built from components in China, with final assembly in California.
Coda leaders said in recent months that they remained hopeful about the loan, but that they had developed a business plan that would work without the Ohio plant.
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