CASA GRANDE — A car manufacturing company that intends to build a plant in Casa Grande has hired away a top executive from one of its competitors.

Lucid Motors announced Monday that it has hired Peter Hochholdinger to be its vice president of manufacturing. Lucid is a luxury electric car startup based in California with an announced manufacturing plant in Casa Grande.

Hochholdinger brings with him 30 years of experience in the automotive industry, with the most significant entry in his resume being his previous job as vice president of production for Tesla Motors, another electric vehicle manufacturer. With Tesla, he oversaw factories in Fremont, California; Lathrop, California; and Tilburg, Netherlands.

Before working at Tesla, Hochholdinger spent 23 years with Audi AG, where he eventually because director of production for the Audi A4, A5 and Q5, accounting for the assembly of more than 400,000 cars per year, according to a Lucid press release.

“We are delighted to welcome Peter to the Lucid team,” said Peter Rawlinson, Lucid CEO and chief technology officer. “Peter’s extensive experience and proven leadership in premium-vehicle manufacturing will prove invaluable as we continue our progress towards the launch of Lucid Air and future models. In joining Lucid, Peter is empowered to create an industry-leading manufacturing process that will deliver the quality products our discerning customers demand and deserve.”

Groundbreaking on the Casa Grande plant has been delayed for various reasons since Lucid announced it was coming in 2016. However, Mayor Craig McFarland said recently he is optimistic that construction can begin by the end of the year, allowing the company to join others like Nikola Motors in Coolidge in what local officials are calling a “tech corridor” that is forming in Pinal County. Lucid claims production is still scheduled to begin in 2020.

“It is with great pleasure that I join Lucid at such an exciting time in the company’s history,” Hochholdinger said. “I look forward to working with the world-class team to deliver Lucid’s incredible luxury electric vehicles in production.”

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