Rivian increases production in third quarter

EV startup boosts output, but will need fourth quarter surge to meet 25k goal in 2022
Manufacturing workers assemble electric vehicles at Rivian in Normal, Ill., on July 20, 2022. (Photo for the Atlanta Journal Constitution by Ron Johnson)



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

Electric vehicle maker Rivian, which plans to build a $5 billion factory in Georgia, announced Monday it produced 7,363 vehicles during this year’s third quarter, its best three-month output so far.

While that’s a 67% jump over the quarter that ended in June, the company needs another sizable increase in production during the final 90 days of the year to hit its goal of 25,000 vehicles in 2022.

Rivian announced late last year its plan to build a sprawling factory along I-20 about an hour east of Atlanta, where it has said it will employ 7,500. The company was attracted to Georgia in part thanks to a $1.5 billion package of state and local incentives.

But the company has struggled with supply chain issues that have vexed many industries and hampered production at its first factory in Illinois. At one time, Rivian said it expected to produce 50,000 combined R1T trucks, R1S SUVs and electric delivery vans this year.

The automaker ultimately cut its production goal in half amid the global supply chain squeeze.

California-based Rivian said Monday the third quarter production number is “in line with the company’s expectations,” and Rivian affirmed it will hit its 25,000 production quota.

Rivian would need to produce nearly 10,700 vehicles before the end of December to meet its goal, a 45% increase over the third quarter figures.

Currently, all Rivian manufacturing takes place at its factory in Normal, Illinois, but the company is hinging its long-term future on ramping up vehicle production in Georgia.

The proposed 16-million-square-foot Georgia plant is expected to manufacture a new vehicle model, the R2 crossover, starting in 2025. The vehicle will be sold at a lower price than the company’s current consumer models — the R1T and R1S — and they’re crucial to expanding Rivian’s customer base.

However, the company’s plans suffered a major legal setback last week.

On Thursday, a Morgan County judge shot down a central component of the $1.5 billion incentive package offered to woo Rivian to Georgia. The ruling — a victory for a local grassroots group opposing the factory — comes weeks before company and state leaders anticipated holding a ceremonial groundbreaking for the planned factory.

The ruling will likely be appealed, and both state and local officials said they “intend to work with Rivian to move this project forward and see it through to completion.”

A Rivian representative declined to comment.

A note of disclosure

Cox Enterprises, owner of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, owns about a 4% stake in Rivian and supplies services to the company. Sandy Schwartz, a Cox executive who oversees the AJC, is on Rivian’s board of directors and holds stock personally. He does not take part in the AJC’s coverage of Rivian.