Unvetted Sources On The Changes & Chaos At The Lucid Motors Production Plant

September 7, 2022

There is no debate that Lucid Motors had some serious issues at its production facility, the CEO confirmed so in the last earnings call. They brought in Steven David and he has been rebuilding and reorganizing a lot of what is going on with operations, production, logistics, and the sorts.

So what I am about to copy and paste comes from the Lucid Owners Forum, from someone who has posted in that forum 86 times, has been in the forum since January 2022 and says his cousin and his friends work in engineering at Lucid and this is what he was told about what is going on inside regarding the executive shuffle we reported on yesterday.

Here is what he said is their take on that information, and I quote:

  • The new exec team was brought in to address the bureaucracy, tribal mentality, and lack of ownership (when things didn’t go right) at the Arizona plant.
  • Peter Hoch had done a great job in setting up the initial line but struggled to handle multiple responsibilities (manufacture, operations, logistic, QA). Wasn’t able to delegate, but in all fairness, didn’t have enough savvy team to delegate. Also too soft to confront bureaucracy.
  • Total lack of QA process. Worse, those who are responsible for making cars are also responsible for QA-ing them. The majority of those who handle QA & product validation came from the Tesla plant (most were middle management), and even a formerly low-level supervisor at Tesla was put in charge of QA & final OK. Needless to say, the QA standard at Tesla wasn’t that high (but Tesla had a superior logistic & production line) and they carried that standard to Lucid (with a very basic production line & logistics). Hence disaster happened.
  • The PMO was living in lala-land, thinking they could set up the true just-in-time-inventory, any config could just be dynamically scheduled to be blended in on the production line. While this is a common practice at big OEM, Lucid wasn’t ready for it. The end result was a bunch of cars all missing parts here and there. Worse, both the suppliers and Lucid struggle with the production & assembly of parts & cars. Lack of space magnified the problem.
  • Lack of coordination: many shutdowns happened to retool or to try out new idea (!!!) and config. The PMO while lacking real production experience, had too much power in regard to operations.
  • Those who were in the production line were frustrated with direction from the PMO, QA, and manufacturing process, but their voice wasn’t listened to.

He added “The new exec didn’t put up with a lot of these nonsense, and came with a lot of wounds from big & established car makers (where quality & logistics matter) – hence the practice & process they’re putting in are much more realistic. Also, they’re quite strong and would not put up with the bureaucracy & tribal mindset of the old team.” “So far, things are working out better & moral at the plant are up. The production setup, inventory, and scheduling for car production are all improving quite significantly. Space remains issue for them, and they think once the new spaces are in operation, a lot of the issues in regard to inventory & logistics would be alleviated,” he said.

He also said later on “From what I’m told, Peter R was too focused in efficiency, technology, and marketing (and the glory of PR), being remoted & somewhat disconnected, also he trusted the words of his crew at the Arizona plant & PMO too much until he realized how severe the disaster was. The story of the team sticking with him & company when Lucid was in many near-death experiences (prior to getting funding from the PIF) also lead to him being too soft when goals & milestones keep missing targets.”

On a positive note, he said “Good thing is that he & Sherry eventually took drastic action – no longer asking people to change their mindset, but rather, to bring in people with a different mindset.”

Now again, this is unvetted and I found this in a forum post. But the person who posted does not have one or two posts in the forum, he has 86 and has been an active member in the forum for several months. The vast majority of his posts in the forum are very positive towards Lucid, if that matters.