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For all of the planning, hype, and expectations surrounding startup EV manufacturer Lucid and its Air sedans, things have not gone nearly as expected. The expectation was that with the Air’s competitive numbers, great styling, positive reporting, and actually being in production, orders would come flying in. But, no. For the first quarter of 2023, it has only delivered 1,400 EVs. 

How badly is Lucid Air missing its sales forecasts?

2023 Lucid Air Sapphire on salt flats
2023 Lucid Air Sapphire | Lucid

At the end of 2022, Lucid announced plans for 2023 production to be somewhere between 10,000 and 14,000 for Air sedans. So extrapolating out, 1,400 in Q1 won’t cut it. At that pace, it hits around half of its lower year-end goal.

Earlier this year, Lucid boss Peter Rawlinson explained a “demand shortfall.” The initial result of that was cutting almost 20% of its workforce. Lucid has seen its preorders plummet as potential buyers have cut bait and presumably, purchased one of the many new EVs rolling out every month of late. 

Is a new Lucid coming out soon?

Front of Lucid dealer building
Lucid dealer | Lucid

Rather than seeing production rise in Q1, it has receded. In that period, it completed almost 2,000 deliveries. That Q4 2022 period also resulted in a almost $500 million net loss. 

As it looks for a rise in production and deliveries, Lucid is also looking forward to its next model, the Gravity EV SUV. It is expected to debut before the end of 2024. But without a healthy increase in production and deliveries, that may be an insurmountable time waiting for reinforcements. 

Two 2023 Lucid Air EV sedans in front of building
2023 Lucid Air EV sedans | Lucid

An earnings call takes place on May 11. According to Automotive News, investors were asked to submit questions ahead of that date. The one receiving the most attention is one about 2021 projections. 

“Peter, you have said ‘I like to underpromise and like to overdeliver. When will we see underpromising and overdelivering? It has been the complete opposite so far.” Yikes! Your friends at MotorBiscuit can probably give an answer close to what investors will hear.

How will Lucid address low Air production and sales?

Rawlinson will probably explain the ongoing problem no one envisioned back in 2021. Those he might include could be fallout from the pandemic, supply shortages, increased material, and operating costs, and Tesla’s price cuts enticing buyers away from Lucid. He may also invoke how interest rates have hurt sales, inflation, and increases in the price of chickens and psychedelic mushrooms.

White 2023 Lucid Air EV rear 3/4 view
2023 Lucid Air EV | Lucid

Elon Musk Warns Lucid and Rivian That They Are Heading Toward Bankruptcy

We’re kidding about the last two, but in other companies’ investor call-ins, those are all popular reasons for low demand and missed forecasts. And honestly, some of those hurdles make it almost impossible to predict sales.

However, every manufacturer in the U.S. faces similar problems, especially automakers. All have remained in the game, with some having record sales within the last year. And one problem that will only get worse is that as time marches on, more new EVs will hit showrooms. That takes exclusivity away from Lucid and bestows upon new entries a freshness that is fading from the Air.