Electric vehicle startup Lucid Group (NASDAQ:LCID) released its first earnings report as a publicly traded company on Nov. 15. On the surface, the numbers weren’t great. Lucid lost 42 cents per share, dwarfing analysts’ expectations for a loss of 25 cents per share. Yet, LCID stock jumped nearly 24% the next day. It just goes to show you that you can’t always judge how investors will react to an earnings report based on the headline.
LCID stock has been on fire over the past month, rising more than 117%. I expect shares to continue to outperform based on bullish sentiment related to production numbers, a major automotive award and analyst upgrades.
Lucid: Beyond the Loss
Lucid went public in July after closing its merger with special purpose acquisition company Churchill Capital Corp IV. It is headed by CEO Peter Rawlinson. Before working at Lucid, Rawlinson was best known as the vehicle engineer for the popular Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model S.
Lucid began delivering its first model, the Lucid Air, on Oct. 30. The electric sedan has a starting price of $77,400 and boasts a top range of 520 miles. In comparison, Tesla’s Model S sells for $91,190 and has a top range of 412 miles. Advantage Lucid.
Buyers are lining up. Lucid announced that it had 13,000 reservations for the Lucid Air at the end of Q3. By Nov. 15, management said it had over 17,000 reservations.
The company believes it can produce 20,000 vehicles in 2022 at its Arizona plant.
“This target is not without risk given ongoing challenges facing the automotive industry, with global disruptions to supply chains and logistics,” Rawlinson said in a news release. “We are taking steps to mitigate these challenges, however, and look forward to the launch of the Grand Touring, Touring, and Pure versions of Lucid Air through 2022.”
Lucid’s factory has a top capacity of 34,000 vehicles annually, but the company has already started an expansion project that will allow it to produce 90,000 vehicles by the end of 2023. It also plans to open plants in China and the Middle East by the middle of the decade.
Lucid said it ended the third quarter with a cash horde of $4.8 billion. Not bad for a new company.
Lucid Receives Industry and Analyst Praise
Earlier this month, I wrote what could best be described as a skeptical take on LCID stock. I noted that the car was getting solid reviews from MotorTrend, Car and Driver and Consumer Reports. But the real test, I said, would be if Lucid could keep up the quality on a day-to-day basis.
Now, at least one of those reviewers is doubling down in a big way. MotorTrend announced on Nov. 15 that the Lucid Air is its 2022 Car of the Year:
Automotive progress usually happens in baby steps. Slowly, like a white oak sapling growing in a forest. But every now and then a new car jumps off the automotive forest floor like a rainbow eucalyptus, advancing like crazy while making a colorful splash. The Air sedan from startup EV-maker Lucid is just such a car, and its level of innovation and sophistication are as fresh and unexpected as multicolored tree bark.
That’s some head-turning praise.
Only four analysts currently cover LCID stock, according to The Wall Street Journal, with one-year targets ranging from a low of $16 to a high of $60. I think the high end is more realistic.
Citi analyst Itay Michaeli recently boosted his target from $28 to $57 a share, maintaining a “buy” rating. In a research note, he wrote that Lucid has “strong” EV tech credentials that are building both commercial and brand momentum. Michaeli’s target is about 9% above the stock’s current price.
The Bottom Line on LCID Stock
With a universally hailed design, strong demand and rave reviews, Lucid’s shares are riding high right now. LCID stock has even been outpacing Tesla’s shares recently, up more than 140% over the past three months compared to 70% for TSLA stock.
It’s not too late to start building a position in LCID stock. The best strategy is dollar-cost averaging, or to consistently buy shares in set amounts over a period of time. Just remember that, because Lucid is a relatively new company, its shares are bound to be volatile.
The EV space is going to be competitive for years. Don’t overreact to peaks and valleys. All in all, the rewards seem higher than the risks right now.
On the date of publication, Patrick Sanders was long TSLA stock. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
Patrick Sanders is a freelance writer and editor in Maryland, and from 2015 to 2019 was head of the investment advice section at U.S. News & World Report. Follow him on Twitter at @1patricksanders.