More trouble for Lordstown Motors
LORDSTOWN — Electric-truck startup Lordstown Motors Corp. and Camping World, it seems, have split six months into a relationship top executives of both envisioned could blossom into the development of new electric recreational vehicles.
Also this week the company faces additional scrutiny with the news several executives sold millions in stock weeks before announcing financial results in March.
Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis last week wrote on Twitter his company, the largest retailer of RVs in the U.S., is launching Electric World without Lordstown Motors.
Electric World, according to RV industry publications, is an all-electric facility in Draper, Utah.
Lemonis responded to a question of whether he was “still in on Lordstown” after earlier in the week two top executives at Lordstown Motors — including its founder and CEO Steve Burns — resigned, and the company’s walkback of statements June 15 it had firm and binding orders.
Emails seeking comment and clarification regarding the partnership were sent Tuesday to spokespeople with both companies.
The relationship announced in December would have given Lordstown Motors access to Camping World’s coast-to-coast service and collision network for repairs and service of its battery-powered Endurance truck, which is supposed to start limited production in September.
It also was to include development first on electrifying the RV industry, Lemonis said then, with travel trailers and fifth wheels and eventually to a Class E electric motorhome based on the Endurance platform.
Lordstown Motors President Rich Schmidt said last week the collaboration with Camping World is on hold so the company can focus on the Endurance, according to published reports.
Schmidt is among five executives who in February sold more than $8.5 million in stock over three days starting Feb. 2, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Schmidt, according to the documents, sold more than 210,000 shares for $5.3 million on Feb. 2 and 3. The company’s Vice President of Propulsion Chuan Vo, on Feb. 2, sold 100,000 shares for $2.5 million, leaving him with just 717 shares.
Three others, including former Chief Financial Officer Julio Rodriguez, who resigned with Burns on June 14, sold shares worth about $250,000 to about $465,000, the filings show.
An email seeking comment was sent to a Lordstown Motors spokesman. The company addressed the matter June 14 in a report by a special committee formed to address accusations made in a short-sellers report released March 12. The earnings report was released five days later.
The committee determined “each of those transactions were made for reasons unrelated to the performance of the company or viability of the Endurance, and each such director and executive retained substantial Lordstown Motors equity holdings in the form of shares and options following the sales and transfers …”
The day of the earnings report release, company officials disclosed a probe by the SEC — which has issued two subpoenas for information regarding the company’s October merger with special purpose acquisition company DiamondPeak Holdings Corp.
The company Thursday disclosed it has no firm purchase orders or commitments for the Endurance. Earlier this month, it informed the SEC it needed more money to launch commercial scale production of the truck and disclosed its doubt to remain a “going concern,” an accounting term that means a company has the financial wherewithal to meet its obligations.
Interim CEO Angela Strand said Monday at the kickoff to Lordstown Week the company is seeking additional money to scale capacity and further automate the manufacturing processes. The company, she said, is evaluating multiple funding sources and continues its due diligence work on a federal loan program designed to help automakers manufacture more efficient vehicles.
Lordstown Week is a weeklong event at the factory, the former General Motors assembly plant, for investors, auto analysts, potential customers and the media to tour the factory and test ride the truck.
Lordstown Motors stock closed 2.3 percent up Tuesday at $10.31 per share.