Nikola Corp and vehicle equipment maker CNH Industrial said on Monday they are working to build prototypes of the EV maker's Tre semi-truck, days after a scathing report from short-seller Hindenburg alleged Nikola of "fraud". The stock fell as much as 11% Monday after the company issued a lengthier rebuttal to a September 10 report from Hindenburg Research, only to turn higher and finish up 11%. "Nikola welcomes the SEC's involvement in this matter", a spokesperson for the company told Business Insider.
Last week, automaker General Motors Co took an 11% stake in Nikola and said the two companies will join forces to build electric pickup trucks and fuel cell commercial trucks to take on Tesla Inc.
Hindenburg Founder Nathan Anderson said in a statement that he's "encouraged that regulators are examining the situation".
"Obviously, the truck can't have 1,000 horsepower or even 1 horsepower if it doesn't power itself", Hindenburg said in the new report. On Monday evening, Bloomberg reported that the SEC is looking into the merits of that report, sending its stock price down.
"Nikola believes that the Hindenburg report, and the opportunistic timing of its publication shortly after announcement of Nikola's partnership with General Motors Co. and the resulting positive share price reaction, was created to provide a false impression to investors and to negatively manipulate the market in order to financially benefit short sellers, including Hindenburg itself", Nikola said in its rebuttal issued Monday.
Hindenburg alleged that the seemingly functional truck, Nikola One, was "simply filmed rolling down a big hill" in 2017, a claim Nikola responded to by saying it had never stated that the truck was driving "under its own propulsion".