Lucid Group (NASDAQ:LCID) is down after Bloomberg estimated it is losing $338,000 per car. The company’s response, a cheaper version of its Air sedan, did not impress. The new car costs $77,400, just $5,000 less than the lowest-price current model.
In pre-market trading on Oct. 6, LCID stock trades at $5.10 per share, representing a market capitalization of $11.7 billion. Its value is down 17% in 2023.
LCID Stock: A Focus on Luxury
As I wrote in May, the Lucid Air is a great car. But it takes scaled production to make a great car company.
I’m not the only skeptic. Bank of America said in July the company is running out of time to scale production. The skepticism seemed warranted when Lucid reported making just 2,173 cars in the second quarter and delivering just 1,404. This was less than it delivered in the fourth quarter of 2022.
Lucid’s niche remains luxury. The latest car to go into production at its Arizona factory is the Lucid Air Sapphire. It has a range of 427 miles per charge, a top speed of 208 mph, and a 1,234 horsepower electric motor. The Sapphire costs $249,000.
The company is being held aloft by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF), which now owns 65% of the common stock. Saudi Arabia is building a global player around its technology, taking major stakes in Aston Martin (OTCMKTS:AMGDF) and China-based Human Horizons, which is also a luxury brand.
The return on that investment is the first car plant ever in Saudi Arabia. The factory should be capable of making 150,000 cars per year by the middle of the decade.
The Saudi government also agreed to buy 100,000 Lucid vehicles over the next 10 years. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s similar to the Rivian (NASDAQ:RIVN) deal with Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) for vans that made that company credible.
What Happens Next?
Lucid’s existence is not threatened so long as the Saudi checkbook remains open. But the Saudi government is unikely to buy the rest of the company until it needs to. Don’t buy Lucid stock expecting a Saudi bailout.
As of this writing, Dana Blankenhorn held a LONG position in AMZN. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.