Overcoming serious (and potentially false) allegations from short-sellers, Lordstown proved it's getting closer to its goal of manufacturing electric trucks by reaching a major milestone. It launched beta production of the Endurance pickup in the Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant that manufactured the Chevrolet Cruze until it closed in 2019.
Don't get the wrong idea, Italian car fans. Lordstown hasn't started producing the Lancia Beta. Instead, it built its first fully functional pre-production models using the tools and machines that will reportedly begin mass-producing the vehicle in the coming months. Getting to this point was easier said than done. The startup unveiled the Endurance, its first model, in June 2020, about six months after it started taking deposits for the truck. It used some of the money it harvested from early adopters to fine-tune the concept into a street-legal electric pickup.
While turning a sketch into something motorists can buy and use daily is a challenge, Lordstown's work didn't stop there. It also fully retooled the shuttered assembly plant it purchased from General Motors. Viewed in this light, launching beta production is a major accomplishment, even if it was reached a year late. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic certainly did young carmakers no favors; Rivian's electric truck was delayed, too.
Lordstown has big plans for the future. It will race the Endurance in the 2021 edition of the San Felipe 250, and it plans to develop an electric RV with Camping World. Company CEO Steve Burns ambitiously predicted that an annual output of around 600,000 vehicles is attainable, though he's aiming to build around 20,000 trucks in the first year.
Not everyone believes in Lordstown. Hindenburg Research took a short position on the carmaker's stock last month, pointing out that the startup "has no revenue and no sellable product." It added that it believes Lordstown misled its investors on both its demand and its production capacity. Burns vehemently denied the allegations, which attracted extra scrutiny from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissions (SEC), and stressed that the Endurance remains on track to enter series production in September 2021. Deliveries should start shortly after.