Tesla’s (NASDAQ: TSLA) earnings trouble sent a message to investors. All car companies that make EVs have EV revenue challenges. The most endangered are small independents, and among the most troubled is Lucid (NASDAQ: LCID), the stock of which is down 80% in the last year.
Industry leader Tesla’s revenue in the most recent quarter rose only 3% year over year to $25.2 billion. Automotive revenue rose just 1% to $21.6 billion. Adjusted EBITDA, which Tesla uses as a proxy for profitability, fell 27% to $4 billion. CEO Elon Musk said he expects revenue growth to slow in 2024. Tesla still owns the EV future.
Tesla’s numbers confirm what observers of the growth of EV sales already know. Even large companies like Ford have struggled recently to sell EVs. Ford and GM have pushed back investments in the sector.
If Tesla, Ford, and GM have challenges, what happens to smaller companies with less than modest sales and futures in which their positions are not likely to improve? There is a reason for the decline in Lucid’s stock price. Lucid had trouble selling cars even when the EV industry was doing better than today.
Lucid continues to show optimism about its ability to do well. It is opening a larger production facility in Casa Grande, AZ. Steven David, Senior Vice President of Operations, said, “Just like Intel is the anchor for chips that brought in TSMC, we’re looking at Lucid as almost being an automotive anchor here in Arizona, a starting point to grow, grow the automotive space, grow tier 1 suppliers, grow the technology going into it.” Many people on Wall St. doubt that.
Lucid has a new SUV with seven seats and is unusually fast, 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds. However, it is hard to say how, in a market crowded with new EV launches seemingly every month, the new “Gravity” model will get much attention.
Lucid produced only 2,391 vehicles in the final quarter of last year. A new model built in an expanded factory won’t make most people who watch the company believe those actions will help improve its shaky position in an industry where sales have started to slow.
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