Rivian EV production up again in third quarter, reaffirms annual goal

EV automaker expected to soon begin vertical construction on $5B Georgia factory
Manufacturing workers assemble the R1T electric vehicle at Rivian in Normal, Ill., on July 20, 2022. (Photo for the Atlanta Journal Constitution by Ron Johnson)



Manufacturing workers assemble the R1T electric vehicle at Rivian in Normal, Ill., on July 20, 2022. (Photo for the Atlanta Journal Constitution by Ron Johnson)

Electric vehicle startup Rivian is continuing to ramp up its manufacturing output as the company prepares to begin vertical construction on its $5 billion factory an hour east of Atlanta.

The California-based upstart said Monday it assembled 16,304 plug-in vehicles at its Illinois plant during the three months that ended in September, up about 17% compared to the second quarter of this year. The company also delivered 15,564 vehicles during this year’s third quarter, a 23% increase from the prior three months.

Compared to the same three months last year, Rivian’s production figure was up 121%.

Rivian, which is staking its long-term manufacturing future in Georgia, affirmed its goal to assemble 52,000 vehicles by the end of the year. So far this year, it has manufactured 39,691 vehicles, meaning Rivian will surpass its goal if it continues it pace from the most recent quarter.

Overall, EV sales have continued to grow this year, although at slower rates that industry experts initially predicted.

Cox Automotive reported last week EV sales were on track to make up 8% of new auto sales by the end of September. Tesla continues to dominate the EV sector, with a market share of about 60%. Rivian ranks fifth behind other establish auto brands Chevrolet, Ford and Hyundai.

Views of the State Capitol reflected in the window of a Rivian electric vehicle on Wednesday, March 1, 2023. (Natrice Miller/ Natrice.miller@ajc.com)

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

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Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Cox Automotive are both owned by Cox Enterprises, which owns about a 4% stake in Rivian.

Rivian debuted as a public company in 2021 with one of the biggest American initial public offerings ever. As a startup learning to master the intricacies mass production, it was largely expected that Rivian would burn through billions of dollars as it perfected its operations.

The maker of the R1T truck, R1S SUV and electric delivery vans for Amazon sustained production issues through much of 2022. Pandemic-influenced supply chain kinks for microchips and other materials hampered Rivian. In addition, the EV startup has faced mounting pressure and competition from incumbents like Tesla, General Motors, Ford and others.

Rivian ended the second quarter with $10.2 billion in cash reserves, despite losing roughly $1.2 billion from April to June. The company also reported $1.1 billion in revenue during that time, a 208% increase from the same quarter a year prior.

Rivian said it expects to expand production in Illinois in 2024 and reach profitability late that year.

The company announced on Monday it will release its third-quarter financial result Nov. 7 before holding a call with investors.

The future Rivian EV plant near Social Circle is Georgia’s second-largest economic development recruitment in state history. In late 2021, Rivian announced plans to build a massive factory in southern Walton and Morgan counties. In exchange for the factory and 7,500 promised jobs, the state and local officials offered Rivian an incentive package valued at $1.5 billion..

The Rivian site is currently being graded, but vertical construction has yet to begin and no ceremonial groundbreaking has taken place. The factory is expected to open in 2025 and begin manufacturing a new line of Rivian crossovers in 2026. State and local officials last week amended their economic agreement with Rivian to reflect the delayed construction timeline.

“We continue to work closely with the state and our local and regional partners as we approach our formal groundbreaking and start of construction,” Rivian said in a statement last week.