Lordstown Motors Opens Doors to Analysts, Potential Customers

LORDSTOWN, Ohio – Institutional investors, analysts, members of the media and potential customers will receive a firsthand glimpse at electric-vehicle manufacturer Lordstown Motors Corp.’s operations starting today.

“Lordstown Motors Week” is a five-day event through June 25 designed to present stakeholders with a more in-depth look at how the production team is preparing the factory for the early launch of The Endurance, the all-electric pickup that is slated for production in September.

The event comes as the company wrestles with a leadership shakeup, an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and major questions as to whether it could stay in business through next year.

Plant tours, interaction with Lordstown Motors’ executive team, presentations and test drives of the Endurance are all part of the week’s schedule, according to company statements.

While the event is not open to the public, the company announced two weeks ago that it would host a “virtual” presentation and tour for retail investors on June 25.

On its website, Lordstown Motors is offering a “window” into the plant that highlights its beta models. “We have started physical crash testing of our betas, and are excited to share we have passed every test we have taken so far,” the company states.

Some investors welcomed the company’s show of confidence, especially after several weeks of volatile news.

“Lordstown Motors is working to build a company in the manufacturing heartland of the USA, an area that has been devastated by job losses that has torn families apart,” said Veroslav Djurdjevic, an investor from Toronto. “Lordstown Motors success will be a success of the American average citizen, who succeeds in spite of the negativity and greed.”

Djurdjevic says he has issues with some of the negative media coverage Lordstown Motors has endured over the last several months, beginning with a short-seller’s report in March that alleged the company’s preorders were mostly fabricated and that it misled investors.

“It is sad to see that making money by short sellers is more important than putting people back to work,” Djurdjevic said. “It takes time to recover from negative reporting.”

Yet the company’s own announcements over the last three weeks have not been encouraging. On June 8, Lordstown Motors restated its annual report for 2020 that contained a “going concern” warning, questioning whether it could remain in business through 2022.

Then, on June 14, Lordstown Motors announced the abrupt resignations of founder and CEO Steve Burns and Chief Financial Officer Julio Rodriguez. An executive team headed by newly appointed Executive Chairwoman Angela Strand, along with help corporate turnaround firm AP Services LLC, was put in place to manage the leadership transition.

Also on June 14, Lordstown Motors announced it had concluded an internal investigation into the short-seller’s report, and found that public statements made by some executives related to preorders for the Endurance were inaccurate. It disputed other aspects of the report related to the company’s production schedule and technology.

Just one day later, Lordstown Motors President Rich Schmidt said during a panel discussion with the Automotive Press Association that the company did indeed have “binding” orders for the Endurance to cover production of 15,000 vehicles until May 2022.

But two days later tamped down Schmidt’s statements, clarifying that Lordstown Motors did not have “binding” orders.

Nevertheless, investors appeared to mostly shrug off the volatile week, as shares of the company, which trades under the ticker symbol RIDE, remained relatively stable.

On Friday, shares of RIDE closed at $10.65 per unit, up 3.3% and up 13.3% over the past five days.

The company said that it is still on track to produce its first pickup at the end of September. It is finishing production of beta vehicles, which are used for safety validation and other tests.

“Lordstown has a product,” Djurdjevic said. “The Betas are proof of that. Crash testing and all reports support that testing is going well.”

“One day we’ll look back at the history of Lordstown and recognize that it took a lot of people working together to rebuild the Lordstown industry,” he said.

The Business Journal will have extensive coverage of Lordstown Motors Week. Keep checking this site and this page.

Pictured at top: The 98th beta produced by Lordstown Motors Corp. The image is from the company’s website.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.