April 2, 2023

Lucid Motors said on Wednesday that production of its luxury electric sedan increased by more than 50% in the fourth quarter, as better parts and materials availability allowed the company to slightly exceed its full-year manufacturing target.

The automaker said it produced 7,200 vehicles in 2022, its first year of mass production, including 3,500 in the fourth quarter. In August, the company said it aimed to produce 6,000 to 7,000 vehicles this year.

However, the target has been revised down from an earlier target of 20,000 vehicles. Wednesday’s report disappointed Wall Street investors who had been expecting more. Lucid shares fell more than 7 percent in after-hours trading.

Lucid Chief Executive Peter Rawlinson said in an interview that while there were persistent shortages of certain parts and materials, “it’s a lot better than it was before.”

Mr Rawlinson said transporting cars remained a problem, which helped explain why 4,400 vehicles delivered last year fell short of production requirements.

Along with electric pickup truck maker Rivian, Lucid is one of the most notable companies trying to capitalize on the shift to electric vehicles and challenge traditional automakers.

Lucid’s main selling points are efficiency and range. All models of the sedan can travel at least 450 miles on a full charge, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That’s more than any Tesla model.

Still, the odds are high. Tesla is the only new American automaker in more than a century to achieve mass production and survive as an independent company. Car manufacturing requires huge up-front investments, and profit margins are often tight.

Lucid’s cheapest model, the Air Pure, costs $109,000 and competes with wealthy buyers from companies such as Mercedes-Benz and Porsche that have launched luxury electric vehicles. Lucid has announced plans to start selling an $87,000 model this year.

Rawlinson said Wednesday that the company plans to produce cars in the coming years that can compete with Tesla’s more affordable Model 3 and Model Y cars.

Lucid, backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, has $4.9 billion in cash, enough to last through at least the first quarter of 2024. said in an earnings report Wednesday.

Sales in the final three months of 2022 were $258 million, up from $195 million in the third quarter. Lucid reported a loss of $473 million in the fourth quarter, down from a loss of $530 million in the previous quarter.

Lucid’s chief financial officer, Sherry House, said in an interview that the company does not expect to be profitable in 2023 as production continues to ramp up.

Lucid said Wednesday it aims to produce 10,000 to 14,000 vehicles in 2023. As of this week, potential customers have booked more than 28,000 vehicles, the company said, not including as many as 100,000 that Saudi Arabia has agreed to buy.

Mr Rawlinson cautioned that not all non-binding reservations translate into sales. “You can never count your chickens until they hatch,” he said.

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