Elio Motors Finally Responds … What's Next? You Decide!

Elio Motors - interview

As regular readers of Gas 2 might already know, we’ve invested a lot of virtual ink covering Elio Motors over the years. Despite our early enthusiasm, however, I think it’s fair to say that most of our my articles about Elio have been fairly critical of the company – despite that (or, as has been suggested by a few commenters, because of that), Elio corporate hasn’t exactly been answering my emails. Until today, that is.

Earlier today, I received an email from Chip Stempeck, the Vice President Customer Experience at Elio Motors. I let the fact that Elio hasn’t built any cars (and, therefor, doesn’t have any customers to experience anything one way or the other) slide without a snarky comment, and asked for a direct Q&A interview to set the record straight.


My Email with Elio


Now, while that offer may surprise those of you who think that I am some sort of shill for the big 3 or the oil companies (I’ve, hilariously, been called both by commenters on older Elio posts), but the fact is that the people who’ll suffer most if Elio doesn’t happen are the people who’ve pinned their hopes and dreams for new jobs and a revitalized economy on its success. And, for their sake, I hope Elio Motors comes through like a roaring lion.

SO, here we are.

The offer’s extended, and I have a few questions I’d, personally, like to get some answers to … but what about you guys? What kind of questions would you like me to ask Chip (assuming he/Elio takes me up on my offer)? I’ll leave you “my questions” below, and invite you to put yours into the comments section. I’ll choose my favorites, email them over to Elio, and we’ll take it from there.

Have fun!


My Questions For Elio Motors

Q1.   The trike has been promoted heavily as having a $6800 MSRP, and being made available with air conditioning, power windows, stereo, two seats, 3 airbags, stability control, and ABS (I’ll assume cruise control is in there, as well). Is all that going to be standard at the $6800 price, or will some of those features be optional?

Q2.   The latest news out of Shreveport seems to indicate that Elio Motors still needs to raise between $145 and $200 million. Is that accurate and, if so, how do you plan to raise the rest of the money you need?

Q3.   Assuming you’re able to raise the startup money you need by the end of this year, will you then be on track to start hiring in Shreveport?

Q4.   Assuming you’re not able to raise the startup money, what happens to the deposits you’ve collected so far? What systems and safeguards are in place to ensure that your depositors get their money back?

Q5.   Why go to the trouble of building your own engine? Why not make a deal with Honda or Suzuki to get some Kei car engines?

Q6.   Speaking of engines, in the financials that the Caddo Parish made public last year, you showed $150 per vehicle for “Warranty and Liability”. Since $150 won’t get you very far at most repair shops (even PepBoys), how do you see that $150 covering a trike for – let’s say 3 year/36K miles?

Q7.   In that same document, you say that you anticipate selling 250,000 units annually through just 120 stores with 5 employees each. That’s 35 units received, prepped, inspected, sold, closed, detailed, and delivered per month, per employee, per dealership. How did you come up with that number, and why do you think it’s realistic?

Q8.   Assuming all of that stuff gets sorted out and Elio becomes a huge success. How do you see the Elio line expanding down the road? In other words: Where do you go from there, as a brand?


Original content from Gas 2.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.