Lordstown Motors Corp. (NASDAQ: RIDE) backtracked on statements by its president that the startup has confirmed orders for its Endurance commercial electric pickup truck, telling the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) the orders are solid but not bankable.
The reversal of comments by President Rich Schmidt on Tuesday came in the form of an 8-K filing with the SEC, which is already investigating earlier claims of allegedly inflated orders that contributed to the ouster of founder and CEO Steve Burns on Monday.
The latest kerfuffle comes after a “going concern” filing last week that said the company might not survive the year without additional funds. Lordstown (LMC) began public trading last October after a business combination with Diamond Peak Holdings Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).
Diamond Peak, a shell company created to merge with a private company, raised $780 million for Lordstown, which took over a former General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) car assembly plant in the northeast Ohio community of the same name.
Orders claim retracted
Schmidt, a veteran of several Asian automakers and Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA), told a virtual meeting of the Automotive Press Association in Detroit on Tuesday that Lordstown had sufficient confirmed orders to produce Class 2A vehicles from this September through next May.
On Thursday, Lordstown sought to set the record straight with the SEC.
“Although these vehicle purchase agreements provide us with a significant indicator of demand for the Endurance, [they] do not represent binding purchase orders or other firm purchase commitments,” the company said. “We have no binding purchase orders or commitments from customers.”
Schmidt indicated LMC had customers for the 15,000 to 20,000 pickups it could build before effectively running out of money next May.
The question of orders haunts Lordstown as it struggles for survival. Tuesday’s comments led to a big gain in Lordstown’s share price, a day after it cratered on the news of the resignations of Burns and Chief Financial Officer Julio Rodriguez.
Shares closed 3.30% higher Friday at $10.65 following the latest SEC filing.
Separately, Lordstown on Thursday hired John Whitcomb, a former GM executive, to the newly created position of vice president of global commercial operations He will be responsible for driving LMC’s overall go-to-market strategy, including the development of a sales and service footprint and establishment of a national sales network.