Report Accuses EV Startup Lordstown Motors of Falsifying Preorders

General Motors is an investor in the startup

Electric pickup
Lordstown Motors, unveils their new electric pickup truck Endurance in Lordstown, Ohio, on October 15, 2020.

Last year, startup automaker Lordstown Motors unveiled the Endurance, an EV pickup with an innovative design, an impressive range and a compelling story. The company bought their manufacturing plant from GM — who’s also an investor in the startup — and there’s something appealing about the idea of a next-generation automaker building on the work of one of the nation’s most storied companies in the same industry.

Now, however, Lordstown Motors is facing scrutiny — specifically, a high-profile accusation that the company falsified preorders for their pickups. Hindenburg Research, who holds a short position in Lordstown Motors, released a report titled “The Lordstown Motors Mirage: Fake Orders, Undisclosed Production Hurdles, And A Prototype Inferno.” As you might expect, it is highly critical of the EV manufacturer.

At The Verge, Sean O’Kane notes that this isn’t the first time Hindenburg has investigated an automotive startup: they have previously exposed irregularities in the business of Nikola, makers of hydrogen-powered trucks.

Lordstown Motors has suggested that preorders for its trucks have numbered around 100,000. The Hindenburg report contests this, pointing out contradictory information regarding orders representing 15,500 trucks — many of which were pre-ordered by small companies without an existing vehicle fleet.

A report by Ben Foldy and Mike Colias at the Wall Street Journal found Lordstown Motors Chief Executive Steve Burns refuting elements of the report, and noting that some of the preorders cited in the Hindenburg report were, in the words of Foldy and Colias, “understood to be nonbinding as a way to assess market demand.”

What effect this will have on Lordstown Motors moving forward remains to be seen. As The Verge reports, the startup stated that they have plans to respond to Hindenburg’s report in the coming days.

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