Potential Elio customers left with mixed reactions after delayed - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Potential Elio customers left with mixed reactions after delayed production date

When Elio Motors initially announced in early 2013, they would build their 3-wheeled cars in Shreveport, the company was expected to start production in summer of 2014. (Source: Elio Motors) When Elio Motors initially announced in early 2013, they would build their 3-wheeled cars in Shreveport, the company was expected to start production in summer of 2014. (Source: Elio Motors)
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - More than 38,000 people have put down money to reserve a 3-wheeled car from Phoenix based start up Elio Motors. But, a delay in production has divided the group of supporters into two groups: true believers and skeptics.

When Elio Motors initially announced in early 2013 that they planned to build their 3-wheeled cars in Shreveport, the company was expected to start production in summer of 2014. Now, the production start date has been pushed to the end of 2015.

According to Elio Motors, 38,177 people have made reservations for their vehicle and many of those reservations are non-refundable. The wait is making some who have already put money down nervous, while others say they are glad the company is taking their time "to do it right the first time."

Naples, Florida resident John Giberson first ran across the 3-wheeled Elio vehicle in Daytona, Florida. 

"When I saw it, I was immediately interested in the vehicle," Giberson explained.

Roger Wildermuth of Fort Walton Beach, Florida has been following news about Elio motors since 2009. He even drove 12 hours just to see one for himself. 

"When it looked like they were going to get the Shreveport plant, I went ahead and put in a reservation," said Wildermuth.

Both Wildermuth and Giberson each put down $1,000.00 in non-refundable money to reserve their Elio vehicles with what Elio Motors is calling the "all in" option.

The option promises 50% of the payment will be credited against the Elio purchase, a t-shirt, bumper sticker and priority delivery date.

Although in the fine print it does spell out in the reservation agreement"You are under no obligation to purchase a vehicle from us and we are under no obligation to supply you with a vehicle."

The disclaimer even reads, "This agreement does not constitute an agreement for the sale of a vehicle and does not lock in pricing, a production slot, or an estimated delivery date."

"So they are legally covered on that," said Wildermuth who explains he is fully aware of Elio's disclaimer in the fine print. Wildermuth explained Elio's delayed production deadlines has dimmed his enthusiasm about the vehicle.

"What has really soured me is when I would go on Facebook and ask them a question about how are they going to build all of these E series and test them in the limited time we have, they won't answer those questions," Wildermuth explained.

Wildermuth feels Elio isn't being transparent enough about specifics to reservation holders. 

"It is becoming obvious to me that they don't care about the people they already have the money from," said Wildermuth. "They are more interested in painting a glowing picture so they can get new money from people who don't have the full picture or have not done the research to see how they have missed their self imposed deadlines."

On the other hand, Giberson who is the creator of the "Future Elio Owners of America" Facebook group feels Elio Motors is being open to reservation holders.

"I think they have been very up front with consumers. I think that is displayed in all of the road shows that they have put on, they put out a blog every Friday, keeping all of the interested parties up to date," Giberson explained.

While Whildermuth is skeptical the company will make their end of 2015 production deadline, Giberson who calls himself a "true believer" thinks Elio knows what they are doing. 

"In the spirit of the whole thing, I think people just need to relax, allow these people at this company to do their job." said Giberson. "I think in the long run, even if it is slightly delayed, I think it will be for the betterment of the future Elio Motor owners of America," he added.

One of the biggest complaints that KSLA News 12 has heard from potential Elio customers is they can't get a hold of Elio Motors to answer their specific questions.

We reached out to media relations spokesman Pamela Vassallo and asked her to respond those claims. We also asked about the company's specific time frames when it comes to hiring the Elio Motors workforce.

Vassallo says she isn't qualified to answer our questions because she is the ground liaison for the Tour Team and specializes in questions regarding their event schedules and media connections locally.

Vassalo referred us to another media spokesman Mike DeVilling, who she says handles their PR, press and national media. DeVilling has not gotten back to us with answers just yet.

The reservation holders aren't the only ones who have put up money for Elio Motors, the Caddo Parish Commissioners voted in 2013 to put up $7.5 million worth of tax payers money to provide money to the Industrial Developmental Board to purchase the old GM plant, clearing the way for Elio Motors to plan to set up shop in Shreveport.

Two Caddo Commissioners that we reached out to declined to comment about Elio Motors and told us to talk to an Elio Spokesman about the company's progress.

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