Lucid Motors Steps Up Production as Supply Chain Problems Ease

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

The carmaker said it produced 7,200 vehicles in 2022, its first year of manufacturing in significant numbers, including 3,500 in the fourth quarter. In August, the company said it aimed to make 6,000 to 7,000 cars during the year.

That target, however, had been lowered from an earlier goal of 20,000 vehicles. And the report on Wednesday disappointed Wall Street investors who had expected more. Lucid shares fell more than 7 percent in after-hours trading.

Even as shortages of some parts and materials persist, “it’s much better than it was,” Peter Rawlinson, Lucid’s chief executive, said in an interview.

Shipping cars remains a problem, Mr. Rawlinson said, helping to explain why deliveries of 4,400 vehicles last year fell short of production.

Along with Rivian, a maker of electric pickup trucks, Lucid is among the most prominent companies trying to take advantage of the shift to electric vehicles and challenge traditional carmakers.

Lucid’s main selling points are efficiency and range. All variations 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 long. Tesla is the only new American carmaker in more than a century to achieve mass production and survive as an independent company. Auto manufacturing requires huge upfront investment, and profit margins are usually thin.

Lucid’s least expensive model, the Air Touring, sells for $107,400, competing for wealthy buyers with companies like Mercedes-Benz and Porsche that have introduced luxury electric cars. Lucid has announced plans to begin selling an $87,000 model this year.

The company plans in the next years to produce cars that could compete with Tesla’s more affordable Model 3 and Model Y vehicles, Mr. Rawlinson said on Wednesday.

Lucid, which has the backing of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, has $4.9 billion in cash, enough to survive at least through the first quarter of 2024, the company said in an earnings report on Wednesday.

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

The company does not expect to make a profit in 2023 as it continues to ramp up production, Sherry House, Lucid’s chief financial officer, said in an interview.

Lucid said Wednesday that it aimed to produce 10,000 to 14,000 cars in 2023. Potential customers have reserved more than 28,000 vehicles as of this week, the company said, not counting up to 100,000 cars that Saudi Arabia has agreed to buy.

Mr. Rawlinson cautioned that not all of the reservations, which are nonbinding, would translate into sales. “You can never count your chickens before they’re hatched,” he said.

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