Lordstown Motors has cut its 2021 production forecast in half as it continues to seek additional investment to begin building the Lordstown Endurance electric pickup.
The company, which purchased the Lordstown Assembly plant off of General Motors back in 2019, originally said it would produce 2,200 examples of the Endurance this year. However, Lordstown Motors CEO Steve Burns amended that prediction in a news release published Monday, saying this year’s production tally would be “at best 50 percent” of its initial expectations.
Burns pointed to COVID-19 as the reason for the startup’s production woes, saying the pandemic has resulted in “significantly higher than expected” operating costs due to rising parts and shipping expenses. The company is still seeking additional investment to begin building the Endurance in large numbers, with Burns saying a lack of capital “may limit our ability to make as many vehicles as we would like.”
“We have encountered some challenges, including COVID-related and industry-wide related issues, as we progress towards our start of production deadline,” Lordstown Motors said in a statement. “These include significantly higher than expected expenditures for parts/equipment, expedited shipping costs, and expenses associated with third-party engineering resources. We secured a number of critical parts and equipment in advance, so we are still in a position to ramp the Endurance, but we do need additional capital to execute on our plans. We believe we have several opportunities to raise capital in various forms and have begun those discussions.”
Lordstown Motors said previously that it was seeking a loan from the U.S. Energy Department to begin re-tooling the Lordstown Assembly plant, which it purchased from GM for an undisclosed sum. The startup is also hoping to receive $200 million from the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Program – a federal loan program that has also lent cash to Tesla, Nissan and other automakers to help get certain light-duty vehicle projects off the ground.
The Ohio-based company was the target of a short-seller report published by Hindenberg Research earlier this year, which alleged Lordstown had misled investors in an effort to drum up interest in the company and attract additional capital. Lordstown Motors said previously that it had already received 100,000 non-binding pre-orders for the Endurance pickup, a number that Hindenberg claimed was “largely fictitious.” GM previously invested $75 million in Lordstown Motors, which became a publicly-traded company after merging with Delaware-based special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) DiamondPeak Holdings last year.
Despite the setbacks, Lordstown Motors says it has built 47 beta test versions of the Lordstown Endurance and is planning for the vehicle to enter production at its Ohio plant in the fourth-quarter of this year.