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Lucid has emerged as one of Tesla’s top competitors in the niche space of high-end EVs from startup brands. Its debut model, the Lucid Air, is a direct rival to the iconic Tesla Model S. It is a high-performance electric luxury sedan capable of up to 516 miles of range and 1,234 horsepower. However, despite its impressive specs, its sales numbers have been unimpressive.

Elon Musk noticed the Lucid Air’s lagging deliveries and couldn’t help but comment on it.

What did Elon Musk say about Lucid?

Elon Musk gestures with both hands while speaking at the 2023 New York Times DealBook Summit
Elon Musk | Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for The New York Times

A user on Elon Musk’s social media platform X said, “There’s only one company that experiences production hell. And it’s Lucid.” This referenced Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson saying the same about Tesla in 2020. Elon Musk replied to the post, saying, “Sales hell too.”

The production and sales hell they’re discussing refers to disappointing third-quarter sales in 2023. According to TheStreet, investors expected 2,000 deliveries during the third quarter of the year, but the actual number ended up being 1,457. The stock went down about five percent following the disappointing news.

In August, Lucid admitted that it’s no longer having supply chain issues holding up production. In 2023, the problem is lagging demand. Everyone who wanted a Lucid Air got one, and now there’s little to no growth. The company hopes that the Lucid Gravity SUV will broaden the audience for Lucid Motors.

What’s the connection between Lucid and Tesla?

Lucid Motors is, in some ways, a spin-off of Tesla. Lucid’s aforementioned CEO, Peter Rawlinson, is a former Tesla engineer. He had the admirable job of Vice President of Engineering and was the chief engineer on the Tesla Model S.

Lucid was founded initially as Atieva in 2007 by Bernard Tse, another former Tesla employee. Tse was the Vice President of Tesla. Tse would’ve been a VP at Tesla around the time Elon Musk took a more active role in the company, while the Lotus-based Roadster was the brand’s only model.

Why isn’t Lucid growing?

Demand appears to be hitting an early plateau for electric cars. EV inventories are up across the industry, and prices for used models are plummeting as dealers try to get them off their lots. The Lucid brand is no exception to this problem.

Lucid also has the problem of being a luxury brand with low name recognition compared to Tesla and mainstream automakers. Not everyone likes the Tesla brand, but everyone has heard of it. However, Lucid isn’t a household name outside wealthy drivers and electric car enthusiasts.

The Lucid Air also has tough competition. Of course, there’s the Tesla Model S, which is priced similarly to the Air. There are also electric luxury sedans from established names in the luxury car world with extensive dealer networks, like the Mercedes-EQ EQS, BMW i7, Porsche Taycan, and Audi e-Tron GT. The Lucid Gravity looks like a promising electric SUV. But, like the Air, it will have tough competition from the Tesla Model X, BMW iX, and the SUVs from the Mercedes-EQ and Audi e-Tron lineups.

Electric car shoppers with deep pockets have a lot of excellent options. That’s good for buyers…but right now, bad for Lucid.