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Lordstown Promises Endurance EV Pickup Will Start Production in September

Lordstown Promises Endurance EV Pickup Will Start Production in September
Lordstown Promises Endurance EV Pickup Will Start Production in September
Lordstown
  • Despite all of its recent controversies, Lordstown confirmed this week that it will start building its first vehicle this September in Ohio.
  • One of those controversies led to the resignation of founder and CEO Steve Burns, who the New York Times said left because he made inaccurate statements about pre-orders for the truck.
  • Lordstown Motors' president, Rich Schmidt, laid out the progress the company had made in preparing for production, including reconditioning stamping presses, paint spray testing and getting the battery and hub motor lines up and running.

    UPDATE 6/18/21, 10 a.m.: In an SEC disclosure filed Thursday, Lordstown "clarified" Lordstown president Rich Schmidt's claim that the company has "firm orders" for its Endurance production in 2021 and 2022. The clarification basically says Schmidt did not tell the truth: "Although these vehicle purchase agreements provide us with a significant indicator of demand for the Endurance, these agreements do not represent binding purchase orders or other firm purchase commitments . . . To date, we have engaged in limited marketing activities and we have no binding purchase orders or commitments from customers."

    It's been a rough few weeks for Lordstown Motors, but the new leaders at the company are not backing down from their claim that the Endurance electric pickup truck will start production in September 2021.

    This week, Lordstown announced that founder and CEO Steve Burns had resigned. In a company statement, Lordstown thanked Burns for his "passion and commitment to the company," but did not explain why he left the company. The New York Times reported that an internal investigation led by Lordstown's board of directors found "issues regarding the accuracy of certain statements regarding the company's pre-orders."

    We were not able to reach Burns for comment about his departure, but whatever the actual reason, the company turned to an in-house executive as his replacement. Lordstown Motors' lead independent director, Angela Strand, was appointed executive chairwoman and will manage Lordstown's transition until a new, permanent CEO is found. Lordstown's chief financial officer, Julio Rodriguez, also resigned this week and was replaced by interim CFO Becky Roof.

    Speaking at a virtual Automotive Press Association (APA) event Tuesday, Strand said the company remains on track to begin building vehicles this fall with plans to deliver them to customers in the first quarter of 2022.

    "What's not changing is our plan to start limited production in late September. It's a new day at Lordstown and there are no disruptions, and there will be no disruptions, to our day-to-day operations," she said.

    Lordstown Motors president Rich Schmidt echoed Strand's commitment during the APA event, explaining how the startup automaker's work converting an old General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio (hence the name), into a facility that can build a variety of electric vehicles started in November 2019 and continues today.

    Many of the production areas are ready today to produce vehicles, at a low volume, Schmidt said. He added that the body shop that had been used to make the company's beta prototypes has been retooled to prepare for production and that the paint shop started spray programming last week. Lordstown is also currently commissioning its battery and hub motor lines, each of which measures around 400,000 square feet, Schmidt said. The hub motor line should be operational in July. Lordstown is also currently reconditioning the stamping presses and, overall, the retooling process is about 85 percent complete, he said.

    Lordstown also responded this week to a report from investment research firm Hindenburg Research that claimed it was "unrealistic" to expect Lordstown to start production of the Endurance this fall. Lordstown issued a statement from a Special Committee of its Board of Directors that called the report, "in significant respects, false and misleading." In particular, the company announcement said, "its challenges to the viability of Lordstown Motors' technology and timeline to start of production are not accurate," but Lordstown did admit that Hindenburg did "identify issues regarding the accuracy of certain statements regarding the Company's pre-orders."

    In the APA event, Schmidt wouldn't say how many orders Lordstown currently has for the Endurance, other than to restate that, "we have enough orders for production for 2021 and 2022. Those are firm orders that we have for those two years."

    Next week, Lordstown is hosting "Lordstown Week," a media event that should reinforce the message that the company is making progress on getting the Endurance into customer hands.

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    Source:caranddriver.com