Although the official debut of the Lucid Air electric sedan is more than a month away—in April, at the New York Auto Show—the California company today started to sketch out one very important aspect: How it will sell and service its cars.
It’s a critical and potentially resource-draining decision for a startup automaker like Lucid, which doesn’t inherit a network of franchised dealerships, or any significant on-the-ground operation at present. Meanwhile, its first car, the Air, starts arriving to customers early next year.
The answer from Lucid, laid out in a press release, with a vision revealed in a set of company-provided images, is that it will follow a direct-to-consumer model for sales, with the focus around boutique stores that sound, at least in concept, like Tesla stores. However with an emphasis on showcasing “color and material themes that represent specific locations within the Golden State”—just like the Lucid Air—the stores could be considerably warmer and more eye-catching, with less of a typical retail design aesthetic.
Lucid Studio - Newark, CA
The stores will also be technology hubs, with virtual reality tours of the Air inside and out, plus a set of digital experiences that Lucid describes as “both unique and coherent.”
On the service side, Lucid is also shaping up to look a lot like Tesla. It will have a combination of physical service depots, mobile service teams, and a digital combination of over-the-air updates and remote diagnostics—with troubleshooting and repairs via the vehicle’s interface.
Lucid has also thought about the physical locations of the showrooms themselves and making sure that they represent the values of the brand. Although a first showroom was opened at Lucid’s Newark, California headquarters in February, it plans a number of showrooms in higher-rent places, including New York City, West Palm Beach’s Rosemary Square, Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, and locations in LA and Orange County.
In 2021, the company will be opening more showrooms and service centers depending on the location of reservations—and including New York, Florida, Washington D.C., Chicago, Orange County, and San Diego, plus Europe.
Before then, the company has one even bigger hurdle yet to go: While it confirmed last month that it will be receiving its battery cells from LG Chem, it now needs to ramp up production by the end of 2020 at its ground-up-new factory being built in Casa Grande, Arizona, between Phoenix and Tucson.