SHANGHAI -- Phil Murtaugh, the former Asia chief for Chrysler and General Motors who now heads the electric-car startup Coda Automotive Inc., says his company's China-made battery-powered car is on track to go on sale in the United States late in the fourth quarter.
The five-passenger, four-door electric sedan will enter production at a plant in the northern China city of Harbin late in the third quarter and go on sale first in California, CEO Murtaugh said during a panel discussion at the Automotive News China Conference.
"We're making good progress," he said. "We're getting our production tooling all in order now. It takes about six weeks to ship them over to the United States, so sometime in the fourth quarter, probably the late fourth quarter, we'll see cars going on sale in California."
The company also has applied for a U.S. government loan to build a plant in Columbus, Ohio, with its Chinese joint-venture partner, Murtaugh said.
Coda previously had delayed plans to export electric vehicles to the United States until the second half of 2011 from an original target of December 2010 after Kevin Czinger resigned as chief executive. Murtaugh was appointed CEO in January.
Coda, of Santa Monica, Calif., has said it plans to sell 50,000 vehicles by 2015, most in the United States. The car's price is expected to start at $44,900 before government incentives.
Murtaugh led Chrysler's operations in Asia before resigning in December 2008. He led Shanghai GM from its inception in 1996 through 2005.