Lucid (LCID) hires ex-NIO executive to lead EV expansion in China

American EV startup Lucid (LCID) is beginning preparations to enter the largest EV market globally. Newly hired Zhu Jiang, a former executive at NIO, Ford, and other high-profile automakers, revealed plans Thursday to lead the EV maker’s expansion into China.

Former NIO executive to lead Lucid’s China EV business

According to local news reports, Jiang revealed, “Lucid, a new American car manufacturer, is beginning to prepare for entering the Chinese market.”

Jiang, who previously served as vice president at NIO, led Ford China’s Mustang Mach-E rollout and held positions at BMW and Jidu Auto, will be responsible for Lucid’s EV operations in China.

Lucid’s plans to expand to China were initially revealed in the company’s first earnings call after going public in November 2021. CEO, Peter Rawlinson, said:

We also plan probes in other parts of the world, the Middle East and in China, and this is going to be part of our global expansion plan.

He continued to say that most reservations at the time were in its home market, the US, but “we haven’t even opened up the big market and teacher, which is China.”

A few days later, Rawlingson told CNBC‘s Jim Cramer the EV maker was looking to build a plant in China and the Middle East for a global expansion. Lucid already began hiring in the region, posting over a dozen jobs in China last December.

Lucid Air Pure (Source: Lucid)

After producing 2,314 Lucid Air models in the first quarter and delivering 1,406 (+300% YOY), the EV maker is projecting to hit the lower end of its yearly production guidance of around 10,000 units.

Ahead of the full unveiling of its first electric SUV later this year, the Lucid Gravity, the company raised $3 billion last week, with the majority ($1.8 billion) coming from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Lucid Gravity electric SUV (Source: Lucid Motors)

Electrek’s Take

Lucid has been planning to expand into China from the beginning, but hiring someone with experience in the market, like Jiang, is smart.

With experience growing a premium EV startup in China with NIO and launching an American model with Ford’s Mach-E, Jiang has the real-life experience for a successful introduction to the market.

It will be interesting to see how Lucid sells in China. With the Lucid Air Pure starting at $87,400 and its top model, the Saphire selling for $249,000, there isn’t much competition in Lucid’s price range. As leaders from several automakers have pointed out, buyers in China are no longer interested in just brand names or styling. They are more concerned with the new tech, software, and experience.

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