Lordstown Motors Begins Commercial Production of Endurance

LORDSTOWN, Ohio – After a bumpy three-year ride, Lordstown Motors Corp. has begun commercial production of its first vehicle, the all-electric Endurance pickup, a spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday.

Colleen Robar said in an email that the company’s target to start production during the third quarter of this year had not changed and commercial deliveries are still planned for the fourth quarter.

When asked whether Lordstown Motors had started production on commercial vehicles, Robar replied “yes.”

No further details were provided as to how many vehicles were in production or whether any Endurance EVs have been completed.

Robar said a “major announcement” was coming “soon” with additional details.

It’s unclear as to how many vehicles are slated for delivery this year. In August, President and CEO Edward Hightower told analysts that the company would limit its first production run to approximately 500 units, the majority of which would be produced during the “first part of 2023.”

Earlier this year, the company had forecast it would manufacture 500 units of the Endurance to close out 2022 and produce another 2,500 the following year.

Since the beginning of this year, the plant has been manufacturing pre-production vehicles used for validation and testing.

The Endurance is a semifinalist for Truck of the Year from the North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year Awards organization.

Lordstown Motors first announced plans to build the Endurance at General Motors Co.’s former Lordstown plant in late 2019. The company purchased the factory from GM for $20 million in November of that year.

However, Lordstown Motors became embroiled in problems after a short-seller report in March 2021 accused the EV startup of misleading investors and inflating the number of pre-orders for the Endurance. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice have opened up investigations into the matter.

Ultimately, an internal inquiry found that public statements made by executives regarding pre-orders of the Endurance were inaccurate. In June 2021, Lordstown Motors founder and CEO Steve Burns resigned, as did Chief Financial Officer Julio Rodriguez.

Other top executives, including company president Rich Schmidt, also subsequently resigned.

The management shakeup led to an entirely different business model for the company and production plan for the Endurance.

Under the leadership of CEO Daniel Ninivaggi and Hightower as president, Lordstown Motors opted to seek a contract manufacturing agreement with Foxconn, the Taiwanese tech giant that was looking to embrace the EV market.

Ninivaggi is now chairman of the board of directors, while Hightower is Lordstown’s president and CEO.

Foxconn purchased the Lordstown factory in May for $230 million and signed contract manufacturing and joint-venture agreements that allow Foxconn to build the Endurance and future EVs for Lordstown Motors.

Lordstown Motors reported a cash balance of $236 million for the three months ended June 30, 2022 — an amount the EV startup says is “above internal expectations.”

The company posted a first-ever quarterly profit of $63.659 million during the period, mostly the result of gains of $101.7 million in asset sales to Foxconn during the quarter.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.