Lucid revises 2023 production amid softening demand for luxury EVs

Lucid has revised its 2023 production outlook amid softening demand for luxury electric vehicles, the company said Tuesday in its third-quarter earnings report.

The EV maker said it will produce 8,000 to 8,500 vehicles by the end of the year, down from previous guidance of more than 10,000, to "prudently align with deliveries."

In the third quarter, Lucid delivered 1,457 of its luxury electric Air sedans, missing Wall Street expectations by about 500 vehicles. Year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter, Lucid's delivery numbers were more or less flat.

The revised production guidance and weak delivery numbers come as consumers are unwilling to spend big on EVs, preferring instead to go for more budget-friendly hybrids. To keep up demand, companies around the world have been looking for ways to offer EVs at a lower price point. Tesla has been consistently slashing its prices across the board to boost sales. And automakers like Ford and Rivian are working to come to market with cheaper models.

In August, Lucid started cutting prices across the full Air lineup. Last week, the EV maker doubled down, slashing the price of its Air Touring model to $87,500, down from $95,000, and the Grand Touring by $10,000 to $115,600. The all-wheel drive Air Pure is also now at $74,900, down from $82,400.

While cheaper, those cars are still expensive, and Lucid is about to reveal another luxury EV model that will likely be just as costly.

Lucid's Gravity SUV is set to be unveiled next week. The company said production is still scheduled to begin in late 2024. Pricing has not yet been revealed for that car, but it's expected to come in at around $100,000.

Lucid missed Wall Street estimates

Lucid reported $137.8 million in the third quarter, missing Wall Street estimates of $192.72 million by a long shot, according to Yahoo Finance data. That revenue is down about 30% from the same period in 2022, when Lucid reported earnings of $195.5 million.

Some of that can be attributed to restructuring charges. In March, Lucid laid off 18% of staff, or about 1,300 employees, to reduce costs at the company. Lucid said its restructuring effort would also lead to other cost cuts, but the automaker's spend on selling, general and administrative expenses has grown year-over-year.

Lucid closed the quarter with a net loss of $630.8 million. The automaker still has $1.16 billion in cash and cash equivalents and a total $5.45 billion in liquidity, which Sherry House, Lucid's CFO, says will get the Gravity to production and help the company stay afloat into 2025.

“We’ve also made progress with the cost control program we implemented in the first half of the year and have identified further opportunities for 2024," said House in a statement.

While Lucid's liquidity position may be strong for the moment, the automaker still closed out the quarter with negative free cash flow of –$706 million, a stark sign that Lucid isn't bringing in enough cash to cover its high costs.

For the year, Lucid expects to spend between $1 billion and $1.1 billion on capital expenditures as the company strategically invests in manufacturing capacity, retail studios and service centers, and vendor tooling for the Gravity, according to House.

Lucid's stock fell almost 7% in after-hours trading Tuesday.