Elio Motors shows new 3-wheel car prototype as customers await production

The line to see the new car prototype wrapped around the Shreveport Convention Center. (Source: Nick Lawton, KSLA)
The line to see the new car prototype wrapped around the Shreveport Convention Center. (Source: Nick Lawton, KSLA)

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Hundreds came from Arkansas, Texas, Tennessee and beyond to Shreveport to see the new P5, what Elio Motors describes as their final prototype of their three-wheel car.

"I've seen the P1, P2, P3, P4," said Leesville, Texas Elio Motors Customer Robert Partigianoni. "I like the miles per gallon."

Elio Motors projects their P5 three-wheel car to get up to 84 MPG, seat two and cost a $6,800 base price.

"What made me want to invest is what I already knew about the company," said Shreveport Elio Motors Customer Deborah McAteer. "What made me want to buy it three years ago is I think it's cool."

Now, more than 51,000 customers have paid thousands of dollars down to reserve one.

Some paid back in 2014, but the cars haven't hit the market yet.

Elio reports it will take more than $200 million to begin production, but they've set a date.

"We're still forecasting and targeting the fourth quarter of '16 to start production," said Elio Motors Vice President of Sales Jerome Vassallo.

Some customers shared concerns about Elio's February 17 filing of their report to the Securities and Exchange Commission which showed a more than $59 million dollar deficit and more than $1 million in loans needing to be paid off.

Click here for more of our reports on the SEC filing.

KSLA News 12 asked Elio leaders if their finances were ready for production.

"I know we're closer than we were a week ago. I don't know where the numbers are exactly but I know we're closer than we were a week ago," Vassallo said.

People in line Sunday said they believe these cars are coming to Shreveport.

Arkansas resident Lee Wilkins even bought stock in the company.

"We bought stock in the company and it was $12 a share," Wilkins said. "It's up considerably than that now!"

News of new software Elio bought for its cars has also reassured other customers.

"Honda Motors uses the same software. It's called IQMS. Since I'm a quality manager by profession, that meant something to me," McAteer said. "It's not cheap. You don't buy something like that if you're trying to scam people out of money."

"I've got a feeling it may get put off another quarter but I'm not even worried about that. I think if they've got the money, they'll do it," said Partigianoni.

Elio leaders tell us these projects take time but they said they will deliver.

"We've gotten to a point where we're very confident," Vassallo said. "I think the questions of: 'Will it come?' In my mind, in my opinion, those questions have all been answered."

As far as the plant Elio leased here in Shreveport, their leaders tell us they've made a lot of progress behind the scenes getting ready to start production there by the end of the year.

They're also on a deadline to create 1,500 jobs by the fourth quarter of 2016.

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