Pumping up an IPO with marketing targeting everyday consumers speaks to the democratization of stock trading, says Jeff Curry, Lucid’s VP of marketing and communications.
“Going public has generally been a financial story—you target people in the financial media and institutional investors,” he says. “But more and more because of the prevalence of finance in our day-to-day world with things like Robinhood … an IPO is more of a cultural moment.” For Lucid, the IPO is “another marketing point in time that we can also tell people about Lucid, tell them about our business and basically make this an invitation to join our mission to accelerate sustainable transportation.”
It’s not the first time Lucid has sought to make a splash with expensive media buys. In May it ran an ad on NBC during Tesla Tesla co-founder Elon Musk’s appearance on “Saturday Night Live.” The ad, produced by Lucid’s in-house creative/production team and its agency, Erich & Kallman, was a move to stalk Musk and win attention from loyalists of Tesla, the longtime EV leader.
But Curry says Lucid is mainly targeting buyers of more traditional luxury auto brands, such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi, which are all rushing to make and market their own EVs.
“Tesla has done a fantastic job obviously of opening up the market, showing there is a real demand for electric vehicles,” Curry says. “We think there is an opportunity to go even beyond that.”
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He adds: “Most consumers in what we have seen in research don’t consider Tesla luxury—they would consider them maybe premium, but not luxury. We think most of our luxury competition is from those traditional luxury brands.”
Curry knows the luxury segment well. He joined Lucid in May after stints at Jaguar, Ferrari and Audi. At Lucid, he is pushing a so-called “post luxury” position, which he describes as a desire by consumers to move away from opulent and indulgent status symbols and into more concrete product values, such as engineering excellence. “They are really buying into quality, instead of just pure materialism that looks flashy, they are buying into substance and quality,” he says.
The trick for Lucid will be to convince buyers to fork over big bucks to buy a brand without any track record. The Ludic Air costs about $77,000 for a basic model and up to about $160,000 for the so-called “Air Dream” edition that gets 503 miles of range.
Lucid’s marketing push comes as vehicles as luxury competitors pour billions into EV development. Mercedes-Benz last week outlined plans to plow $47 billion to electrify its lineup, Bloomberg News reported. “The tipping point is getting closer and we will be ready as markets switch to electric-only by the end of this decade,” CEO Ola Kallenius said in a statement. “This step marks a profound reallocation of capital.”
Lucid is positioning itself as an EV “specialist”—an approach Curry says will differentiate the brand from luxury competitors that still rely heavily on gas-powered vehicle sales. “We see Lucid buyers wanting to buy from experts,” he says.
Lucid won’t sell cars at franchised dealerships like its luxury competitors. It is instead relying on direct-to-consumer online transactions while showing off its models at studios, like one that opened last month in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District.
New York is one of several states that prohibits on-premise, direct-to-consumer sales, so Lucid cannot close any deals at the showroom. The New York location is the eighth Lucid studio. The company plans to 11 more by year’s end, including in Chicago, San Francisco, Phoenix, Long Island, Boston, Vancouver and San Diego.
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