EV Maker Arcimoto Reported Its Results. The Focus Is on a Short-Seller’s Claims.

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An Arcimoto FUV three-wheeled electric vehicle.

Courtesy Arcimoto

The electric-vehicle maker


reported fourth- quarter numbers Wednesday evening, but as is the case with many companies in the business, investors are focused on other issues. In Arcimoto’s case, it is a negative research report by a short seller published late this month.

For 2020, Arcimoto (ticker: FUV) reported a loss of 63 cents a share from $2.2 million in sales. Wall Street was looking for $3 million in sales and a loss of 55 cents a share.

Although sales were lower than analysts projected, management sounded upbeat about the future. “As we look to the year ahead and emerge from the pandemic our course is clear,” said CEO
Mark Frohnmayer
in the company’s news release. “2021 is the year Arcimoto will lay the groundwork for the next decade of growth.”

Analysts project the company will generate about $21 million in sales in 2021, up more than 850% year over year.

Arcimoto makes small, three-wheeled vehicles designed for the delivery and healthcare markets. The vehicles are also meant for consumers looking for a fun driving experience. The stock ticker, FUV, refers to fun utility vehicles; Arcimoto delivered 97 of them in 2020.

Shares were unchanged in after-hours trading Wednesday, while the stock closed up 0.3% in regular trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 0.3%, while the S&P 500 rose 0.4%.

Arcimoto stock has been under pressure since March 23, when a short seller published a report alleging the company’s preorders for its FUVs aren’t real, and that the vehicles aren’t safe, among other things. The stock is down about 20% since then.

Frohnmayer spoke with Barron’s shortly after the report was released and denied the allegations. “The report starts out with a blatant falsehood…that we have fake preorders,” said the CEO. “We do not.”

Arcimoto reports 4,800 orders and has taken refundable deposits that are held in a separate account, according to the CEO. “We call them strong sales leads,” he said.

Frohnmayer defended Arcimoto’s vehicle safety as well. “We take our [safety] reporting requirements very seriously,” adding the company has contacted customer about a safety or recall issue every time it was required to. Some Arcimoto recall details are available on the website of the National Highway Safety Administration, as they are for other vehicle makers.

The short seller, Bonitas Research, didn’t respond to a request for comment at the time.

Investors heard directly from management on the company’s Wednesday evening conference call. Frohnmayer reiterated his view that the report was “chock-full of falsehoods and misrepresentations” before going into details about the company’s preorders and safety practices.

About 23% of Arcimoto shares have been sold short, according to Bloomberg. . The average short interest for small-capitalization stocks in the Russell 2000 is about 5%.

Short sellers have had a tough time in Aricmoto stock this past year. Arcimoto stock is up more than 1,000 percent over that span as investors have become more excited about the potential for electric vehicles.

Arcimoto is a small capitalization stock with a market value of roughly $470 million. Four analysts cover the company. Three rate shares Buy and one rate shares Hold.

Write to editors@barrons.com