UPDATE 1-U.S. DoJ investigates Lordstown Motors - WSJ

(Adds background, updates shares)

July 2 (Reuters) - The Department of Justice is investigating electric-vehicle startup Lordstown Motors Corp , the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The inquiry into the company - handled by the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan - is in the early phase, the report said here. Lordstown Motors and DoJ did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.

Shares of the company were down nearly 10% at $9.35.

In March, the shares slumped after investment research firm Hindenburg Research disclosed its short position on the stock, saying Lordstown had misled consumers and investors about its pre-orders worth $1.4 billion for its Endurance truck.

Following the accusations, Lordstown Motors’s chief executive and finance head quit suddenly, days after the company had warned it may not have enough money to stay in business over the next year.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission asked the company for information related to its SPAC merger and pre-orders of its vehicles. (Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)