Electric Automaker Lucid Loses $433,000 Per Car
In the dynamic landscape of electric vehicles (EVs), Lucid Motors, once positioned as a formidable rival to Tesla, is currently weathering a turbulent period marked by substantial financial setbacks. The third quarter of 2023 brought to light staggering losses, with each Lucid Air sold incurring a massive loss of $433,000. This adds to the alarming trend from the previous quarter, where the company faced a per-vehicle loss of $544,000. These alarming figures underscore the significant financial hurdles that Lucid Motors must face.
Beyond financial woes, Lucid Motors grapples with production hurdles. Priced at a starting point of $169,000, the Lucid Air sedan encounters challenges in scaling up production. The third quarter witnessed a substantial drop to a mere 1,500 cars, a sharp contrast to the 3,500 produced in the previous quarter. Lucid attributes this decline in production to supply chain disruptions exacerbated by the global pandemic. The company is hopeful that its Gravity SUV, which will be unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show, will help turn things around for the company.
In the face of stiff competition from Tesla and other EV manufacturers who vastly outsell Lucid, the company has its work cut out for it. Analysts express skepticism about its future despite innovative products. CEO Peter Rawlinson acknowledges the need for immediate business adjustments, leading to a revision of the 2023 production targets from 10,000–14,000 cars to 6,000–7,000 units while maintaining a steadfast focus on long-term objectives.
Lucid Motors’ financial challenges resonate with broader issues faced by other companies in the EV industry. To establish a solid foothold in the market, the company must implement cost-cutting measures and significantly enhance production. However, Lucid is not alone in its financial struggles. Another notable EV startup, Rivian, also reported substantial losses in the first half of 2023, totaling $1.59 billion, up from $424 million in the same period last year. Furthermore, despite its impressive sales and profitability, Tesla still grapples with inflation and supply chain issues.
Several factors contribute to Lucid’s financial distress. For one thing, there are high costs associated with the development and manufacture of the complicated Air sedan. For another, the company is constrained in its manufacturing capacity. Of course, intense competition from larger competitors makes Lucid’s job even tougher.
Although Lucid’s future does not look especially bright, its demise is not at all certain. One of the biggest things that Lucid has going for it is the support of the Saudi Arabian government, which owns a majority of the company. For at least as long as the Saudi royal family views Lucid as a good investment and the Kingdom continues to collect sufficient oil revenues, the company’s future is secure.
Effectively addressing these hurdles could position Lucid as a leader in the EV market. On the other hand, failing to tackle these challenges head-on could potentially lead to bankruptcy for the ambitious luxury EV manufacturer.