Canoo could be facing troubling times.
Things appeared to be going well for Los Angeles-based startup Canoo in recent months. Last August, it issued an IPO and, a few weeks ago, revealed its insanely cool Tesla Cybertruck-rivaling multi-purpose vehicle. It may lack an official name but it's the Leatherman tool of EVs. Going back to just over a year, Canoo inked a deal with Hyundai to help it develop a new skateboard EV platform capable of accommodating numerous body styles and sizes. But now there's clearly some trouble.
The Verge reports the deal between Canoo and Hyundai is apparently dead. Canoo chairman Tony Aquila revealed this on Monday during its first investor call as a publicly-traded company. However, the company's CEO was not present during the call and just hours earlier, its CFO suddenly resigned. Needless to say, investors and analysts taking part were surprised and alarmed by the revelations.
Aquila, who joined the company in 2020 following its SPAC IPO, explained to his audience Canoo's board of directors has decided to "de-emphasize" its "engineering services" line and will instead focus on selling its own vehicles to commercial service companies, like delivery firms and other fleet operators. Sales to private customers no longer appear to be a priority, at least for the time being.
Monday's presentation also revealed a new investor relations website that makes no mention of Hyundai, which has not commented on the report. Canoo's new business strategy also aims to protect the intellectual property it's developed. In addition to the truck and fleet services vehicle, Canoo is also reportedly developing a van but, again, it doesn't sound like a Canoo dealership will be opening next to a Tesla store anytime soon.
"We have so much demand for our three [vehicles], let's get all that work done, and then let's, you know, look at if there [are] partnerships," Aquila said. He further added that, prior to his arrival, Canoo executives were a "little more aggressive" than he would have liked with some of their public statements. Talks regarding potential partnerships were "presumptuous."
It seems like Aquila wants investors to have more realistic expectations of what's possible and set aside what's not. Still, Canoo has $702.4 million in cash or cash equivalents and believes it will spend upwards of $62 million in the first quarter of this year. Canoo is not dead but it's clearly not as far along as we'd hoped.