According to Detroit lore, Henry Kaiser once loudly threatened to throw one hundred million dollars in 1940s money towards the greater glory of Kaiser Motors, drawing a bemused chuckle from GM Chairman Alfred Sloan who quipped “give the man one chip.” Fast forward to 2009, and Coda Automotive, a firm hoping to sell Californians a $45k EV-ified Hafei Saibao Sedan, just scored $25m in funding reports Earth2Tech. That gives the firm a total of $74m raised so far, although the current round of funding won’t closed for another few months, say spokespeople. The latest money, from Aeris Capital, will be spent on “final safety certification testing,” as well as scaling up battery production. In short, Coda is almost-not-quite all the way to one chip in the car game… but that’s still only good for one roll of the dice. Even the weakest automakers have many multiples of that sum in their Treasury escrow accounts. And even the allegedly “bailout free” automakers get to raise debt with a little help from their government friend, TALF.
According to BusinessWeek, Ford Finance is planning on raising a cool half-billion in dealer floorplanning bonds through the government’s Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility program known as TALF. Through TALF, buyers of Ford Finance’s floorplan bonds will qualify for low-cost loans from the Fed, essentially making the debt more valuable than it would otherwise be. Meanwhile, NADA is pushing for an extension of TALF past its planned March 31 expiration, as over $5b in automotive floorplanning could come due this year. Without TALF, NADA worries that dealers could have a tough time finding financing on the open market. Which, given the uncertainty surrounding the future of America’s car market, is not wildly surprising.