Lucid Motors CEO says the EV start-up is targeting expansion in China, Middle East by mid-decade

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Lucid Motors CEO Peter Rawlinson told CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Tuesday that the start-up has plans to build factories outside the U.S.

The California-based electric vehicle maker’s flagship facility is in Casa Grande, Arizona, where the company started commercial production in September. Initial deliveries of the “Dream Edition” of Lucid’s Air sedan began late last month, an important milestone for the company in the increasingly competitive EV market.

“Mid-decade, we plan to have plants in the Middle East and China, as well,” Rawlinson said in an interview on “Mad Money.”

China is home to the world’s largest auto market, and electric-vehicle pioneer Tesla opened a factory in the country in 2019. A number of Chinese EV start-ups, such as Xpeng, Li Auto and Nio, are working to capture consumer attention, as well.

Rawlinson’s comments come one day after Lucid reported its first quarterly results as a public company. Its market capitalization surpassed that of Ford Motor on Tuesday as investors reacted to management confirming production plans for 2022 and signaling that refundable vehicle reservations had increased.

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Lucid expects to make 20,000 of its Air sedans next year, a target the company first laid out in July and affirmed Monday. However, Rawlinson told Cramer the Arizona facility in its current form is capable of producing 34,000 vehicles each year with expansion down the road.

“We’re quadrupling the size of that factory in Arizona. We’re building out a 2.85 million square foot expansion to get ready to build 90,000 units per annum, and the site itself is with its phase three capable of nearly 400,000 units per annum,” he said, before mentioning the international production plans.

Rawlinson said Lucid has “over 17,000” reservations for the Air. “They’re refundable deposits, but this has grown over 30% just in the last six weeks since the end of Q3,” Rawlinson said, adding that the company “absolutely” saw additional reservations each day, especially after the Lucid Air on Monday was named MotorTrend’s car of the year.

“This is when most people have never actually sat or driven in one. Many people have never heard of us yet,” Rawlinson said.

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