Lucid Motors hires former Tesla production executive

(Reuters) - Lucid Motors said on Monday it hired Peter Hochholdinger, a former Tesla Inc production executive, as vice president of manufacturing, its latest high-profile hire from the electric-car maker.

Newark, California-based Lucid Motors had in April named here Peter Rawlinson, former chief engineer of Tesla's Model S, as its chief executive officer.

Hochholdinger, who was vice president of production at Tesla’s Fremont factory, left last week after three years with the company.

At Tesla, he was tasked with improving production for Tesla’s luxury Model S sedan and Model X sport utility vehicle as well as helping build a cost-effective manufacturing program for the Model 3 sedan.

His departure is the latest among a string of senior executives to leave Tesla in the past two years, as the company struggles to deliver Model 3 sedans efficiently in international markets. The car is seen as crucial to the company’s long-term profitability.

Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said in May that the company was on course to deliver a record number of cars in the second quarter, beating the 90,700 it sent to customers in the final quarter of last year.

Tesla is expected to report its quarterly delivery and production numbers this week.

Lucid, which has more than $1 billion investment from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, was founded in 2007 as Atieva by Sam Weng and Bernard Tse, a former vice president of Tesla.

The company positions itself as being less of a direct competitor to Tesla than with luxury car makers such as Audi or BMW, Rawlinson had said.

Rawlinson said Hochholdinger’s experience in manufacturing would help the company in launching Lucid Air and other future models.

(This story corrects to drop reference to the latest three months in first paragraph.)

Reporting by Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel and Anil D’Silva