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Tue. 21 Sep 2021, 6:51pm ETBenzinga
In: News, Trading Ideas

Automobile stocks bounced back from the COVID-19 pandemic-induced sales slowdown fairly well in the second half of 2020 only to be caught unaware by the global semiconductor shortage.

Despite the sales hit from the chip crunch and the resulting capacity idling, shares of most legacy automakers are higher for the year-to-date period.

One electric vehicle startup stands towering over these automakers, as well as EV giant Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), in terms of stock performance.

Meet the Automaker With The Highest Returns: Lucid Group Inc (NASDAQ:LCID) went public in July through a SPAC deal, with a valuation of $24 billion.

The California-based EV startup is developing a luxury EV sedan, named Air, and an electric SUV called Gravity. The company had a modest beginning as a battery manufacturer in 2007 and went by the name Atieva at that time.

In 2016, the company pivoted to EV manufacturing and tapped Peter Rawlinson, former Model 3 lead engineer at Tesla, to oversee its EV project. Rawlinson currently serves as the CEO of Lucid.

When Lucid found itself in a financial mess in 2016 and 2017, it received $1 billion in funding from Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund in 2018.

Related Link: This Foreboding Sign Looms Over Lucid Gr's Chart

Last week, BofA Securities analyst John Murphy initiated coverage of Lucid shares with a Buy rating and $30 price target.

"The company seems to be among the most legitimate start-up EV automakers," the analyst had said in the note.

The company's key competitive advantages, according to the analyst, are innovative/competitive technology validated by Formula E, an interesting/attractive product with the Air sedan, arguably intangible value in the Lucid brand, and a greenfield approach to manufacturing electric platforms/vehicles.

Lucid's shares got a shot in the arm from its announcement last week that its Lucid Air Dream Edition Range has received an official EPA rating of 520 miles of range, the longest-range electric vehicle ever rated by the EPA. This would mean the sedan will deliver at least 100-plus miles of additional range over its closest competitor, supposedly Tesla.

Related Link: EvCon is here! Join Benzinga's electric vehicle conference online Sept. 22.

Lucid Shares vs. Auto Peers: Lucid's shares are up over 21% thus far in September.

In comparison, General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) is up a mere 0.1%, while Japanese automakers Toyota Motor Corp (NYSE:TM) and Honda Motor Co Ltd (NYSE:HMC) are up 1.4% and 0.5%, respectively.

On the other hand, Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) is down 1.6% thus far in the month. Shares of EV pioneer Tesla are down -0.75%. Most other EV players, including Chinese startups such as Nio Inc - ADR (NYSE:NIO), Xpeng Inc - ADR (NYSE:XPEV) and Li Auto Inc (NASDAQ:LI) are all in the red.

At last check Tuesday at market close, Lucid shares were up 11.38% at $26.81.

Related Link: EV Week In Review: Tesla's Gets Upbeat Delivery Forecasts, XPeng's Sub-$25K Car, Lucid's Big Week, Workhorse Gives Up On Legal Challenge

Photo: Lucid