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    Lordstown Motors: bankruptcy, sale of assets and the unexpected return of the founder

    The American startup Lordstown Motors, which intended to become a major manufacturer of electric pickup trucks, actually ceased to exist after two years of struggle for survival. Only about 80 examples of the Lordstown Endurance, assembled at the former GM plant in Lordstown (USA, Ohio), will remain in history.

    We haven't said anything about the long-suffering startup Lordstown Motors for over a year, but now it's time to write something like an obituary, since the agony of the young company seems to have come to an end.

    Lordstown Motors was founded in 2018 by entrepreneur Steve Burns, who planned to be the first to bring an electric pickup truck called the Endurance to the US market. For the production of the Endurance, which was supposed to begin in 2020, Behrs bought in 2019 from the General Motors Corporation an unnecessary plant in Lordstown (Ohio) with a capacity of 600 thousand cars per year. The premiere of the Lordstown Endurance pickup truck took place in June 2020 with the participation of then US Vice President Michael Pence; President Donald Trump also warmly supported the new owner of the Lordstown plant, thanks to which jobs will be saved.

    Steve Burns next to the Lordstown Endurance pickup

    In October 2020, Lordstown Motors successfully completed an IPO through a SPAC merger and became a public company, its capitalization increased sharply. Lordstown Motors executives cheerfully reported that the number of pre-orders for the Endurance had exceeded 100 thousand, while the executives themselves began selling their shares almost immediately after the IPO, which looked like a bad omen.

    Lordstown Endurance

    A bolt from the blue struck in March 2021, when the investment company Hindenburg Research published an investigation in which it accused Burns and Lordstown Motors of fraud, namely deceiving investors about the real number of orders for the Endurance: it turned out that instead of the stated “more than 100 thousand orders” Lordstown Motors does not have a single major contract. The investigation caused a scandal, investors turned away from Lordstown Motors, Burns was forced to leave the company, and its new management, due to the dire financial situation, sold the plant in Lordstown to the Taiwanese IT giant Foxconn, which decided to get into the auto business.

    After the deal with Foxconn, Lordstown Motors became a tenant of part of the Lordstown plant, where it hoped to eventually establish production of the Endurance. The Taiwanese owner of the site, in addition, promised to buy back part of the shares of Lordstown Motors, which gave the company several more millions of dollars for development.

    The technical characteristics of the Lordstown Endurance have been specified several times, the final figures are as follows: overall length – 5842 mm, width – 2068 mm, height – 1941 mm, wheelbase – 3719 mm. The power plant consists of four motor-wheels with a total power of 558 hp, the capacity of the battery built into the frame is 109 kWh, the range on one charge is 280 km according to the EPA cycle, acceleration is up to 60 mph (96.56 km/h) takes 6.3 s, maximum speed is 190 km/h. Curb weight – 2950 kg, load capacity – 476 kg, permissible towed trailer weight – 3629 kg.

    Last September, Lordstown Motors reported the start of production of the Endurance, but by that time it was no longer the first on the market – Ford, GM and Rivian had previously launched their electric pickup trucks. In addition, the start of production was to a certain extent formal: it was essentially a manual, piece-by-piece assembly; to date, the company has produced only about 80 pickups, and they had to be recalled twice due to the crude design and the threat to the safety of the owners.

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    In June of this year, Lordstown Motors filed for bankruptcy and almost simultaneously sued Foxconn, which it accused of failure to fulfill its financial obligations – they say that the Taiwanese partner paid all the promised money, but this litigation led nowhere. At the end of the summer, the sale of the assets of the bankrupt startup began; according to the American business press (in particular, Transport Topics), they were bought for $10 million by the same Steve Burns through his affiliated company LAS Capital – we are talking about production equipment, spare parts, and the design department and other little things. What Burns is going to do with all this is unknown. The Lordstown plant remains owned by Foxconn; the Taiwanese company intends to assemble several of its own and contract models there, including the inexpensive Fisker Pear crossover.

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