Although the electric vehicle startup’s documents filed with Securities and Exchange Commission continue to claim Torrance as the company’s headquarters, Canoo Chief Executive Tony Aquila’s recent remarks to analysts hint at potential changes down the line.
“In addition to our design and engineering hub in California, we are diversifying our footprint of our employee base,” Aquila said during an earnings call on May 17. “We have added, or we’ll be adding, offices in Texas focused on corporate functions, rapid prototyping, and go-to-market; Michigan, focused on purchasing and costing; and … Wisconsin, which will focus on electric powertrain research and innovation.”
“We’re also exploring international hubs for further expansion. Geographic diversification of our workforce will optimize our human capital costs and enable us to attract talent specific to certain regions. The result is a workforce that is stronger, more diverse and drives higher return on capital that is able to work in multiple time zones,” he added.
Canoo is three years into its 15-year lease for office space in Torrance.
On Jan. 1, the company signed a five-year contract for a facility owned by Aquila that’s located in Justin, Texas, near Dallas/Fort Worth.
The area is also home to much of the company’s brass — Chief Accounting Officer Ramesh Murthy, who came on board in March; Chief Administrative Officer Tony Lee; Interim Chief Financial Officer Renato Giger; Vice President of Intellectual Property John Maxin; Global Head of Human Resources Kelly Stover; and General Counsel Hector Ruiz.
Aquila, who took over for Canoo co-founder Ulrich Kranz in April, has strong ties to Texas. His private equity firm, AFV Partners, is based in Dallas. AFV invested about $35 million in Canoo prior to the company’s merger with Hennessy Capital Acquisition Corp. IV and its subsequent debut on the Nasdaq.
During the May 17 call with analysts Aquila also went over Canoo’s first-quarter financial results and provided an update on the company’s business dealings.
Canoo spent $39.3 million on research and development during the quarter compared to $19.3 million in the prior-year period.
Selling, general and administrative expenses added up to $55.6 million compared to $4.1 million during the first quarter of 2020.
The company, which has $641 million in cash at its disposal, also reported a net loss of $15.2 million, down from a net loss of $30.9 million in the prior year period, while capital expenditures increased from $700,000 to $12.1 million for the three months ended March 31.
Canoo said it anticipates spending approximately $65 million to $75 million for operating expenses in the second quarter, and $45 million to $55 million for capital expenditures.
Aquila said the company’s workforce increased by about 28% during the quarter and now consists of 452 employees and 92 contractors. The total will increase to a “critical mass” of about 700 to 1,000 workers by 2022.
Aquila also reiterated Canoo’s plans announced in April to move away from licensing its technology to other automakers. The company’s two-pronged approach to manufacturing will involve working with a manufacturing partner during the first phase of vehicle production before establishing its own manufacturing facilities.
He said his team has identified two “high-quality, established, globally positioned contract manufacturers,” and will announce the finalist in the second quarter.
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