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Say Hello To Elio - Coeur D'alene Press: Business

Say hello to Elio Germany's Daimler also promised to revolutionize American commutes with the Smart car, but that hasn't panned out, says Karl Brauer, a senior analyst with Kelley Blue Book. Smart sold just 9,264 cars in the U.S. last year. The Smart has a starting price of $13,270 for a gas-powered car and gets 38 mpg on the highway - not enough savings or fuel economy to justify sacrificing comfort in the tiny car. But, Brauer said, the equation might work in the Elio. "If it really gets 84 mpg and doesn't drive terribly, it would justify the compromises you're making in size and comfort," he said. Elio will also save money by selling the cars directly through its own stores and not through franchised dealers, similar to electric car maker Tesla Motors. Elio plans stores in 60 major metropolitan areas. They'll be serviced by car repair chain Pep Boys. Paul Elio, a one-time stockbroker and New York City cab driver, dreamed as a kid that he would one day own a car company called Elio Motors. "As I matured I decided that was as likely as get the best service possible playing in the NFL," Elio told The Associated Press. But he did earn an engineering degree at General Motors Institute - now Kettering University - and started his own company engineering products like children's car seats. In 2008, tired of high gas prices and the country's dependence on foreign oil, he started working on a fuel-efficient car. Equally important to him was creating U.S. manufacturing jobs and making the car inexpensive enough to appeal to buyers who might otherwise be stuck in old, unreliable clunkers. "Whatever matters to you, this can move the needle on it," he said. The recession killed his engineering company, but it also provided the opportunity to buy the Shreveport plant when GM filed for bankruptcy protection. goodman repair services Elio Motors plans to employ 1,500 people at the plant.
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