EV maker Lucid opens first UAE retail showroom amid Middle East push

Regional managing director Faisal Sultan reflects on the company's GCC push

Faisal Sultan, vice president and managing director of Lucid Middle East, at the recently held Electric Vehicle Innovation Summit held in Abu Dhabi. Pawan Singh / The National
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With the announcement of its Dubai Studio, luxury electric vehicle maker Lucid Group has opened its first retail space in the UAE.

It is the California-based EV company’s second retail showroom in the Middle East, its first being located in Riyadh.

“The expansion of Lucid into the UAE is a significant milestone for the company,” said Faisal Sultan, vice president and managing director of Lucid Middle East.

“The region continues to build momentum in its shift towards sustainable energy, emerging as a key market in EV ownership.”

Several weeks before the opening of Lucid’s first UAE retail location, the company had a significant presence at the Electric Vehicle Innovation Summit (Evis) in Abu Dhabi, where its flagship Lucid Air sedan was on display in various iterations.

During Evis, Mr Sultan spoke to The National and hinted that the opening of a Dubai location would soon bolster the company’s presence and commitment in the Middle East.

“The GCC is a core part of our strategy,” he explained. “This market is all about luxury goods, so when you bring in a sustainable product into a market with a luxury angle to it, you definitely have to have the GCC and Middle East as one of your core markets.”

The opening of Lucid’s Dubai retail space comes about a year after the EV maker opened its first international manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia.

Currently, vehicle kits from Arizona arrive at the Saudi Arabia plant, where they are later assembled.

The factory, which is about an hour north of Jeddah, has a capacity of 5,000 vehicles annually.

“You know our bigger plan is to have a CBU plant [complete build unit] nearby. It will be ready later this decade and it will have 150,000 vehicle capacity,” he added.

The Lucid Air EV sedan has received ample critical acclaim in recent years.

It won the much-coveted MotorTrend Car of the Year award in 2022, US News and World Report’s 2023 Best Luxury Electric Car award, and the 2024 Best Luxury EV award from Top Gear.

Along with the critical acclaim, however, comes stiff competition in the burgeoning electric vehicle sector.

“We’re a new company and market share will grow,” said Mr Sultan. “We are very confident with our car and we are growing markets. That's how you get market share – you basically go into the market,” he added, alluding to the high hopes for the company’s retail presence in the UAE.

“That will give us another sales point, another place to get some volume out.”

Mr Sultan also spoke about Lucid Group’s future products, such as a seven-seater electric SUV named Gravity.

“We’re on target to to get that out this year in the US and Canada,” he said. “And then eventually next year at some time in these markets [UAE and Saudi Arabia]."

Mr Sultan also explained that Lucid was also looking beyond the UAE and Saudi Arabia for target markets.

“Hopefully, in the next couple of years, other GCC countries [are] also in the plans,” he said.

Lucid’s Dubai Studio is located in the City Walk shopping area and district.

“Every studio offers a digitally oriented luxury experience tailored to each customer’s preferences, whether they visit in person, make inquiries entirely online or combine the two,” according to a statement from Lucid Group.

“Lucid studios allow customers to experience the brand and learn about its products in settings that highlight the company's distinctive design style.”

The company also intends to open its first service centre in Dubai.

In total, Lucid Group has 38 retail studio locations around the world.

Over the past decade, electric vehicles have gained momentum in the consumer marketplace. Sales of overall electric vehicles exceeded 10 million in 2022, according to the International Energy Agency.

The agency's data also shows that the share of electric vehicles in total car sales more than tripled in three years to 14 per cent in 2022, from 4 per cent in 2020.

Yet the EV sector is not immune from traditional struggles of the automotive industry.

EV maker Tesla recently announced plans to reduce its global workforce by 10 per cent amid increased competition and declining sales.

Tariffs and a lack of a charting infrastructure in some areas have also blunted widespread EV adoption.

According to a regulatory filing, Lucid Group also announced coming layoffs of about 400 people before the launch of the company's Gravity SUV.

Updated: June 04, 2024, 5:54 PM