LORDSTOWN — Lordstown Motors Corp.'s initial public offering landed Monday almost right where it began on its first day of trading on the NASDAQ, under the ticker symbol "RIDE."
The company's Class A shares started at $18.80 at about 7 a.m. Monday, reaching a high of $21.75 and a low of $18.21. By close of trading at 4 p.m., RIDE had leveled out at $18.87.
The NASDAQ composite index dropped 1.64 percent as a whole Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average's 2.29 percent drop Monday was linked to surging coronavirus cases in the U.S. and new pandemic restrictions in parts of Europe, according to MarketWatch.
But back in Lordstown, CEO Steve Burns said he's just focused on the product.
The startup is developing what’s believed to be the first all-electric pickup truck, the Endurance. Last week the company finalized its merger with DiamondPeak Holdings Corp., a special purpose acquisition company, which took the startup public.
Lordstown Motors reported about $675 million in investments, which Burns said should be enough to bring the Endurance to market next September. The company has already secured more than 40,000 preorders, representing $2 billion in potential revenue.
"Rarely do you have a startup that has enough money in the bank, that has enough revenue to get to production," Burns told Mahoning Matters Monday morning. "It's kind of a unique position, but essentially our goal is squarely focused on bringing the truck to market."
Built in Lordstown
In a video message released Monday, Burns appears in a preliminary model of the truck outside the Hallock Young Road plant.
The company is building four "alpha" models of the Endurance, almost all for durability testing, he said. Automakers traditionally move from alpha to beta models — where parts like airbags, brakes and headlights are regulation-tested — followed by pre-production models, then prototypes for production, he said.
"Once you hit beta — and those are made on our machines, in our factory, on our battery packs — and start fresh testing, you know you're about 'there'," Burns said.
The Endurance, which is being marketed toward fleet buyers, is expected to enter production in September 2021, Burns said Monday. The company unveiled its prototype in June at its Hallock Young Road facility, the former General Motors Lordstown Assembly Complex.
"It's not lost on us that, of course, we're bringing back a shuttered factory, and that is exciting — but we're bringing a new type of vehicle here," Burns added. "They don't think [the Mahoning Valley is] necessarily where innovation comes from.
"I think having that come out of Lordstown, Ohio, is pretty cool."
There are about 130 contractors continuing retooling work at the 54-year-old facility — "helping us dig into the factory and move robots around, getting stamping presses ready," Burns said.
Actual Lordstown Motors employees now total 236 and the company will continue to add new workers "at a good clip" — about 100 or so a month, he said.
Though Lordstown Motors expected to have 600 employees — including line workers, engineers and designers — in the building when full production spins up, Burns said Monday they're now expecting to have 800.
That extra demand is largely driven by the need for more line workers on the plant's new battery pack and hub motor lines, which are expected to take up about 700,000 square feet inside the 6.2-million-square-foot plant, Burns said.
Samsung is on-board to supply cells to Lordstown Motors, but the company is also adding a second, yet-unannounced cell supplier to its production plan, he said.
"The sales pipeline has been so robust we've started to feel like we better line up our additional supplier so we have enough cells," he said.
Most of the Endurance's 40,000 preorders come from eight different states, though Ohio companies — like FirstEnergy Corp. — are leading the presale charge, Burns said.
Not long after Lordstown Motors purchased the plant from GM for $20 million, executives thought they may rent out much of the unused space to other businesses like partners or suppliers. The number of units already on-order has caused them to reconsider, he said.
"We have a plant that used to make north of 400,000 Chevy Cruzes a year. We are scrambling underneath, trying to figure out how we can make more faster," Burns said. "Preorders can give you a gauge of what to tool for.
"At least we're getting surprised 10 months out. You don't want to have a deterrent — to tell somebody 'Thanks for your order, but it's going to take a couple years'," Burns continued.
"Since we have a fully functioning plant, it isn't as hard for us to accommodate."