A cryptic hand gesture by Lucid Motors (NASDAQ:LCID) CEO Peter Rawlinson (made twice!) has Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) on fire as investors begin to speculate what it could mean.
Rawlinson was photographed at two recent Lucid press events playfully throwing up four fingers. Not quite a TikTok-friendly “Sheesh,” but many are interpreting his hand gesture as a hidden message to Lucid customers and shareholders.
Lucid Motors, for those unaware, is a manufacturer of electric vehicles targeting the luxury segment with it’s soon-to-be-delivered Lucid Air. The company is no stranger to speculation, with rumors swirling around the company since its pre-SPAC merger days, when it was part of Churchill Capital IV (CCIV).
Since Lucid’s initial public offering (IPO) on July 26, investors have been anxiously awaiting for the company to disclose a production start date. Rawlinson has indicated that should be “sometime in the second half of 2021.”
Meanwhile, LCID stock has been grinding its metaphorical gears, having dropped 19% since the IPO, underperforming the S&P 500 (flat over the same period). Adding salt to the wound, the Reddit-anointed Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) killer has significantly underperformed its nemesis. Here’s a quick update on my EV pair trade, for anyone working the numbers:
My take: with a scarcity of hype-inducing announcements since the IPO and no official communication from Lucid itself, LUCIDnation may be seeking meaning where none exists.
In other words, true believers are starting to question their faith.
r/WSB sums up the tension around Lucid stock perfectly:
🦍🦍If they don’t start getting cars to consumers, this ends bad
Here’s a quick look at the cryptic hand gesture that has LUCIDnation buzzing as well as what we really know about LCID stock right now.
LCID Stock and the Number Four
Lucid has yet to publicly announce a production start date. Yet the company has held a number of public events, including a retail store opening in Scottsdale, Arizona. In addition, investors have pointed to a large number of job postings on Lucid’s website as evidence that the company may be getting closer to a date.
A look back at our week in Monterey spent with old and new friends. #DreamAhead #LucidAir pic.twitter.com/wlpahwlejc
— Lucid Motors (@LucidMotors) August 17, 2021
Meanwhile Rawlinson’s photo ops have spawned quite the stir on Reddit and other social media forums. Some believe that the gesture refers to the delivery date of the flagship Lucid Air EV, currently slated for sometime in H2 2021. And an InvestorPlace reader messaged me suggesting that Peter is using trading floor hand signals: his left hand suggests September, his right, the number 4.
Another suggests Peter is talking about Level 4 Autonomous Driving (quite a jab, considering the recent safety probe into Tesla). And the most fervent of LCID bulls believe that the gesture refers to a sought-after partnership with Apple (NASDAQ:APPL)(if anyone can decipher the correlation between the number four and Apple, please email me).
There’s just under four months left until the end of the year. So it’s unsurprising investors have been forced to resort to this type of reasoning. And with LCID stock stuck in limbo, the recent chatter adds a whole new meaning to the phrase “range anxiety.”
What We Know About LCID Stock
LUCIDnation is clearly on the edge of its seats. So now’s a good time to summarize what we really know about Lucid:
- Roughly 40 million warrants (at $11.50) can be exercised beginning August 23 (LCID stock is currently trading at just under $22). While exercisable warrants represent only about 2.5% of LCID’s total 1.7 billon shares outstanding, any significant insider selling is potentially a dilutive event for the stock;
- PIPE (Private Investment in Public Equity) lockup ends September 1. PIPE investors invested at $15 per share. The PIPE was 167 million shares, representing approximately 10% of total shares outstanding. A large sell-off would certainly impact the stock;
- Lucid expects to deliver the Air before the end of 2021;
- The company has built 74 quality validation builds as part of its ongoing final testing phase;
- The Air is undergoing EPA testing in order to validate the vehicle’s claimed range of over 500 miles on a single charge. To understand the gap between battery performance in the lab and in the wild, check out my recent Fireside Chat with next-gen EV battery supplier Addionics CEO and co-founder Moshiel Biton, who provided an eloquent explanation of diffusion limitation;
- Lucid has more than 10,000 reservations for the Air and expects to deliver at least 20,000 units in 2022;
- Deliveries to China are expected in 2023;
- Expected launch for the Lucid Gravity SUV is H2 2023;
- Lucid has pegged $350 million in CAPEX for 2021-2023 in order to add 2.7 million square feet of additional manufacturing space at its Arizona facility for faster production ramp-up.
InvestorPlace readers know where I stand on LCID stock. Lucid — like every carmaker before it — faces significant execution risk in achieving this steep of an automotive production ramp. Steer clear for now.
Your comments and feedback are always welcome. Let’s continue the discussion. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclosure: On the date of publication, Joanna Makris did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
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