Steve Burns proved he’s an optimistic man in a call with investors on May 24. John Murphy, from the Bank of America, asked the Lordstown Motors CEO how he felt facing a competitor such as the F-150 Lightning. To answer that, Burns said Ford’s electric pickup truck actually validated the Endurance. In his opinion, the fact that the Lightning is not a “wild-looking vehicle” shows Lordstown Motors is on the right path.
Burns said both vehicles had the “same bed, same cab, about the same range, about the same pricing” and that the Endurance was “on par with somebody like that at this point.” The Lordstown Motors CEO also said his company was “getting the market faster.” Endurance’s production is scheduled for September, while the F-150 Lightning’s deliveries should start by spring 2022.
Going deeper into what Murphy wanted to know, it is clear he was concerned about how a startup could compete with the electric version of the best-selling vehicle in the world. To make things worse for the Lordstown Motors pickup truck, the F-150 Lightning is relatively affordable, starting at $39,974. And it will only cost that much because Ford expects high volumes to bring production costs down.
Either Burns didn’t understand what Murphy was asking or deliberately changed the focus of the question to put the Endurance under a more favorable light. The fact that the F-150 Lightning is a regular pickup truck just like the Endurance is what puts the new contender at even more risk. Being a “wild-looking vehicle” would be a competitive edge by setting the Endurance apart from the competition.
The main issue with Burn’s arguments is that the Endurance is not on par with the F-150 Lightning. Ford’s electric pickup truck already has 70,000 reservations, if not more. Lordstown Motors was accused by Hindenburg Research of artificially inflating its reservation numbers for the Endurance.
Ford announced it would invest more than $30 billion in electrification. Lordstown Motors will only meet its production goals “when we receive the capital,” in Burns’s words. Finally, the F-150 Lightning is also more conventional by not having wheel hub motors like the Endurance.
Lordstown Motors’s product may eventually prove to be terrific, but the question is precisely if it will have that chance. Ford already has a reputation and a dealer in each corner. Lordstown Motors still has to build a reputation, a sales network, and an electric pickup truck it can sell.