Production, personnel, liquidity: the problems of the Tesla hunter Lucid

us electric car manufacturer
Production, personnel, liquidity: the problems of the Tesla hunter

The Air, Lucid’s only car to date, is in a showroom

© ASSOCIATED PRESS | Julie Jacobson/Picture Alliance

The US electric car manufacturer Lucid actually wants to take on Tesla – and boasts about its cars. But the reality is far from bright: the company is dealing with various problems and is being put to the test.

“Lucid is setting new standards with the longest range and fastest charging electric car on the market,” says the US electric car manufacturer about the luxury sedan Air . In addition, Lucid has just looked at electric car pioneer Tesla. However, if you look behind the scenes, the company does not write good numbers.

So far, vehicle production has not been going as well as the company had hoped. If the words of Lucid CEO and CTO, Peter Rawlinson, are to be believed, around 20,000 units of the Air would roll off the assembly line at the production facility in Arizona last year – Lucid’s only car to date. Then Rawlinson lowered the production target to 14,000 units and finally to 7,000. In fact, Lucid produced 7,180 vehicles last year. The company delivered 4,369 of these. The value thus remained well below the originally targeted production figures.

That’s not Lucid’s only setback. It is also bitter for the company: three board members are leaving the board. They should bring in the industry expertise, as the “Manager Magazin” reports. And after the head of production, Peter Hochholdinger, and David Peel and Ralph Jakobs, two other members of top management, left the company in the autumn, the next departures at management level have already been announced: Frank Lindenberg, Nancy Gioia and Anthony Posawatz will meet at the next Annual General Meeting, which usually takes place at Lucid in early June. The US electric car manufacturer is thus losing its only three employees on board, who come from the automotive industry.

Saudi Arabia expands its position of power

Their successors, on the other hand, have hardly any experience in the industry. Sherif Marakby, former Ford and Magna man, is the only one of three new members with car experience. As a result, the Saudi Arabian state fund, which owns 60 percent of the electric car maker, will continue to expand its power in the company. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia appoints five of nine supervisory board members and will nominate Turqi Alnowaiser as chairman of the supervisory board in the future.

The Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund has provided Lucid with billions of dollars in recent years. In 2018, he saved the start-up founded in 2007 from bankruptcy with a billion dollar investment. Most recently, in November, the fund pumped over 900 million of the total of 1.5 billion dollars raised into the US company in a capital increase.

Finally, Saudi Arabia itself has an interest in the success of Lucid: an agreement has been reached with the Saudi Arabian government to supply up to 100,000 vehicles. In addition, the desert state is currently building a city of millions, in which one would like to enter the car industry in the future. Lucid could also start production here.

Lucid: Goals currently well above production numbers

However, the US electric car manufacturer recently posted losses again. According to Lucid, liquidity will last until the first quarter of 2024. According to the company, vehicle reservations have also fallen from 37,000 in mid-2022 to 28,000 at the turn of the year. Only five Lucid vehicles were registered in Germany in the first two months of the year. However, the Air also costs around $170,000, which is around $30,000 more than the comparable Tesla Model S Plaid.

The production forecast for this year is 10,000 to 14,000 units. In order to achieve the goals of 90,000 vehicles produced in 2024 and a long-term increase to 350,000 in the number, Lucid must increase significantly. Next year, the US carmaker wants to bring a second model onto the market. The SUV has so far been called “Project Gravity”.

Sources: manager magazine, Lucid

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