On Thursday, Nikola Motor held its Q4 2020 Earnings Release, where it publicly acknowledged that Trevor Milton, the founder and former CEO, lied on nine different occasions. The firm acknowledged as much, in a 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC.
In September 2020, Hindenburg Research published a study called “an elaborate scam” by Nikola, alleging that many of the company’s goods or its CEO Trevor Milton’s statements were made without any proof to support their validity. Hindenburg said that the industry had never before seen Nikola’s level of deceit from a company of its stature, creating huge waves in the electric and sustainable vehicle community.
In a follow-up response from Hindenburg, Nikola replied with a rebuttal that was only met with more proof of its illegitimacy. Finally, as a result of the report, an agreement with GM was revised, and Trevor Milton, the company’s front man, was fired.
During Nikola’s Q4 2020 Earnings 10-K filing, the company acknowledged that many claims made by Milton were “inaccurate in whole or in part, when made.” Milton openly misled investors on nine different occasions, according to the automaker, which resulted in his resignation from his post and his subsequent absence in the group.
A story from 2016 that the Nikola One, a Semi truck, was a fully working vehicle, and a hoax from 2020 that five vehicles were rolling off production lines at a facility in Ulm, Germany, are among the lies. Nikola listed seven other claims as fabrications in the filing.
Just weeks after the initial study, Nikola admitted that he had lied about the capabilities of a prototype Nikola One that was shown to investors. Milton was relieved of his duties as the CEO of the company soon afterwards.
As previously stated, the report had considerable implications in a deal with GM, with whom Nikola was set to work on major EV ventures. The news of the scam, on the other hand, had heightened GM’s fears. As a result of these incidents, the legacy automaker reduced the stakes in its contract with Nikola, causing the electric automaker’s stock to drop by 24%.
Nikola is trying to put the Milton saga behind them and concentrate on product growth under the leadership of new CEO Mark Russell.