Lordstown Motors Probably Won't Be The Last New Automaker To Head Toward Doom

The company said Tuesday that it wasn't sure if it would continue to be a going concern

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Lordstown Motors was one of several EV startups to go public via special purpose acquisition company, along with Nikola and Fisker, all of them dubious in one way or another. It now seems like Lordstown Motors will be the first to break, as we wrote Tuesday, though probably not the last.


This has all been very predictable, almost inevitable, even, after Hindenburg, a short-selling firm, released a detailed report in March describing how the company was not what it purported to be. That report sent Lordstown Motors’ stock down, but in reality it was already going down, likely in part because one of Lordstown’s biggest cheerleaders is no longer president.

On Wednesday, stock in Lordstown was down about 12 percent, which actually isn’t that bad considering that just yesterday it said that it, “believes that its current level of cash and cash equivalents are not sufficient to fund commercial scale production and the launch of sale of such vehicles. These conditions raise substantial doubt regarding our ability to continue as a going concern...” Lordstown, in other words, has no product and is quickly running out of cash.

It was less than three weeks ago that Steve Burns, Lordstown’s CEO, insisted that the company was still on track for September production of the Endurance. Burns also said, referring to Ford and the F-150 Lightning, “We are on par with somebody like that at this point, and we’re getting to market faster. We want as many people buying our vehicle while we’re the only game in town. We want to be on version 2.0 when somebody comes out with version 1.0.”

Ending in humiliation — and to be clear, we’re not at the end just yet — would not make Lordstown Motors exceptional in the history of automaking, as going out of business is actually more the rule for new automakers. Which means that if Nikola or Fisker or any of the other car startups make it that will be a bigger surprise than if they don’t.

Over three years ago, I did a guide to the car startups that matter and tried to assess the chances of Tesla, Faraday Future, Lucid, Karma Automotive, Elio Motors, Nio, Zoox, Nuro.ai, Byton, and Lynk & Co. About half of those now don’t exist, or barely exist, while the rest — outside of Tesla and maybe Nio — are still trying to find a foothold. Making cars is hard.

News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.



Jalopnik has had several articles over the years that I read as having a theme of something like “making cars is hard.” This appears to be a fairly accurate statement.

I am a fan of neither Elon Musk nor Tesla, but I must admit that this company is now a large scale producer of automobiles that seems to have a good chance of surviving for a long time. I doubt that many of the current car startups will do as well.