Lucid launches cheaper Air Pure electric sedan to boost demand

(Reuters) -Luxury electric-vehicle maker Lucid Group on Thursday launched a cheaper, rear-wheel drive version of the Air Pure sedan starting at $77,400, as it looks to stoke demand.

Higher borrowing costs have hit sales of electric vehicles over the last few quarters, while a price war unleashed by Tesla has hurt the ability of smaller EV makers such as Lucid and Rivian Automotive to grab market share.

The new Lucid model, however, is more expensive than the world’s most valuable automaker Tesla’s Model S luxury sedan, which starts at about $75,000.

The cheaper electric sedan will offer a range of 410 miles on a full charge and will be available immediately, Lucid said. Its most expensive offering, Air Sapphire, which is also its fastest car, is priced at $249,000.

The company, which is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, had cut prices of its Air luxury sedans by as much as $12,400 in August even as it burns cash and posts bigger losses in its race to keep up with Tesla.

Lucid had reported second-quarter revenue of $150.9 million. Analysts expect it to record $207.9 million in sales in the third quarter, according to LSEG data.

The EV maker opened its first overseas production factory last month in Saudi Arabia and the Saudi government has agreed to buy up to 100,000 Lucid vehicles over the next decade.

Shares of the Newark, California-based firm, which have dropped 19% so far this year, slipped 3.6% in early trading.

(Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)