Stocks to sell

A Lack of Buzz Makes Lucid’s Valuation All the More Surprising

In my Nov. 3 column on Lucid (NASDAQ:LCID), I contended that for LCID stock to go meaningfully higher, the company had “to soon start generating strong, positive buzz surrounding its electric vehicles.”

A photo of the Lucid Motors Air EV from 2018.

Source: ggTravelDiary / Shutterstock.com

Nearly a month later, the company has not made much progress when it comes to getting the publicity needed to achieve that goal. Given that, combined with the company’s low order total and the extremely high valuation of its shares, I’m still cautious on LCID stock.

Lucid Generates Little Mainstream Media Coverage

Based on multiple Google searches that I conducted, there appears to be little mainstream media coverage of Lucid and its electric vehicles at this point. By “mainstream media,” I mean popular outlets that specialize in covering general news rather than focusing on a particular niche such as business news or automobiles.

A search for “Lucid vehicles” with Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOGL) News tab, conducted on Nov. 30,  revealed only four mainstream news articles in the first four pages of results.

Conversely, a search under the Google News tab for “Ford electric vehicles” turned up more than twice as many mainstream media articles.  It’s true that some of those articles focused on the termination of the EV production deal between Ford (NYSE:F) and Rivian (NASDAQ:RIVN). Still, even those articles indicate that the media is more focused on the efforts of Ford and Rivian in the EV sector than those of Lucid.

In my previous column, I noted that buzz generally has two components that feed on each other: media coverage and discussion on social media. The fact that there’s little mainstream media coverage of Lucid and its EVs suggests there’s also relatively little discussion of Lucid and its EVs on social media.

For many decades, large, legacy automakers, including Ford, Toyota (NYSE:TM), and Honda Motor (NYSE:HMC), have been major advertisers on mainstream media, including TV, newspapers and magazines. As a result, these outlets may be reluctant to devote a significant amount of coverage to up-and-coming rivals like Lucid and Fisker (NYSE:FSR).

For different reasons, Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) and Rivian may be exceptions to that rule. Specifically, Tesla was the first company to make EVs on a large scale in the modern era, while Rivian has a major deal with one of America’s most popular retailers, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN).

History is filled with  companies that developed great, even superior products, that never caught on, largely because they never generated enough buzz. Fisker Automotive is one of those companies. Other products that never caught on largely due to a lack of buzz include Betamax and Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) hardware that’s marketed under the Surface brand.

Given the relatively little publicity that Lucid is receiving and the huge amount of competition it’s facing, I could easily see it having a similar fate.

The Bottom Line on LCID Stock

On Nov. 15, Lucid said it had orders for more than 17,000 EVs, reflecting potential revenue of about $1.3 billion. Let’s say the company realizes revenue of $1 billion next year. With a market capitalization of $87.2 billion, that means LCID stock is trading at a ridiculously high price-to-sales ratio of over 87.

Its market capitalization is almost 15 times higher than that of Arrival (NASDAQ:ARVL), which reports an order backlog of 64,000 vehicles. And I don’t think Lucid’s relatively low number of orders can be explained away entirely by the high price tag on its vehicles. There are more than 11 million households in the United States with net assets of $1 million or more that could presumably afford to buy Lucid’s luxury EVs.

Lacking significant buzz and an impressive order total, LCID stock is a definite sell at its current valuations.

On the date of publication, Larry Ramer held a long position in Arrival. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Larry Ramer has conducted research and written articles on U.S. stocks for 13 years. He has been employed by The Fly and Israel’s largest business newspaper, Globes. Larry began writing columns for InvestorPlace in 2015.  Among his highly successful, contrarian picks have been GE, solar stocks, and Snap. You can reach him on StockTwits at @larryramer. 

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