Lordstown Motors CEO: ‘The Bar Is Raised’ with IPO
LORDSTOWN, Ohio – Demand for Lordstown Motors Corp.’s all-electric pickup is expected to climb over the next several months, which probably means more employees at its manufacturing plant here when the company launches into full production by September, its president and CEO said Monday.
“We stated that by production we’d probably be at 600,” Steve Burns said of the projected number of manufacturing jobs in Lordstown. “But, now we feel that that’s going to be about 800.”
Lordstown Motors will begin building beta versions of its Endurance pickup truck in January, followed by several months of rigorous testing before it breaks into full production by September, he said.
“The beta vehicles are nearly production-ready,” Burns said. “That’s when you know you can touch and feel the product and know what’s going to come out several months later.”
Lordstown Motors on Monday began trading publicly on Nasdaq under the ticker “RIDE.” During the summer, the company entered into a merger with DiamondPeak Holdings Corp., a special purpose acquisitions company that helped leverage $675 million to enable production of the Endurance.
“Naturally, IPO day is an exciting day,” Burns said. “It brings in the funding required to get us to the finish line. The bar is raised significantly right now, so we just want to execute.”
Lordstown Motors opened its first day of trading at $19.32 per share.
Burns said 37 beta test models are slated for production starting in January at the company’s plant in Lordstown, the 6.2 million square-foot manufacturing complex the company purchased from General Motors after the automaker shut it down last year.
Among the investors in the venture is GM, which provided $75 million that included a $50 million mortgage loan to Lordstown Motors so it could purchase and retool the plant.
GM has also provided some standard vehicle parts from its inventory to help with early stage production and crash testing, Burns said.
Currently, the company is building several “alpha” versions to test durability, he said, while he noted the prototype continues to perform well.
Lordstown Motors unveiled the prototype in late June during a ceremony at the Lordstown plant featuring Vice President Mike Pence.
To date, Burns said the company has received 40,000 in pre-orders for The Endurance, which is targeted initially for the commercial fleet market. He said he was surprised that the truck has attracted so much attention this soon. The pickup is expected to list at $52,500, but the first 200,000 units would be eligible for a $7,500 rebate, dropping the price to $45,000, he said.
“We didn’t expect that much that quickly,” Burns said. “It’s just a pent-up demand. Fleets are bypassed by the electrification effort – there are a lot of passenger cars coming but nothing for fleets.”
Lordstown Motors was able to secure much of this demand since The Endurance is expected to be the first all-electric pickup in the market. “I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface,” he said.
The company has thus far hired 236 employees –all of them in engineering and design – plus 150 contractors.
Lordstown Motors has not as yet released volume targets, but said it intends to make use of all of the sprawling former GM complex. “We didn’t buy a six million square-foot plant not to fill it up,” he said.
“We are bringing back a shuttered plant, that in itself is exciting,” Burns said.
Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.