Rivian raises annual production goal because of manufacturing momentum

EV startup also allows companies other than Amazon to purchase commercial vans
A display Rivian R1S SUV sits outside the company’s new showroom at Ponce City Market in Atlanta on Thursday, October 19, 2023. (Arvin Temkar / arvin.temkar@ajc.com)

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

A display Rivian R1S SUV sits outside the company’s new showroom at Ponce City Market in Atlanta on Thursday, October 19, 2023. (Arvin Temkar / arvin.temkar@ajc.com)

Electric vehicle upstart Rivian once again increased its production goal for the year as it continues to ramp up manufacturing and grow its quarterly revenue figures.

However, the company is still struggling to trim its losses as it prepares to begin vertical construction on its $5 billion EV factory an hour east of Atlanta — a critical piece in Rivian’s strategy to expand its market share and turn a profit.

The California-based automaker reported $1.3 billion in revenue in the third quarter, compared to $536 million during the same period a year ago, a 149% increase. Rivian’s net loss for the quarter was $1.4 billion, down 20% from $1.7 billion a year ago.

The company assembled 16,304 plug-in vehicles at its Illinois plant during the three months that ended in September, up about 17% compared to this year’s second quarter. The manufacturing momentum prompted Rivian leaders to increase the company’s annual production goal to 54,000 — a 2,000-vehicle bump from prior expectations. It mirrors an increase announced at the end of this year’s second quarter.

In a letter to shareholders, Rivian executives credited the manufacturing boost to “the process experienced on our production lines, the ramp of our in-house motor line and the supply chain outlook.” Simultaneously, the company predicts it will lose $200 million less than initially expected in 2023, a critical year for the startup that aims to stop bleeding cash and turn a profit by the end of next year.

Rivian also announced Tuesday that it will allow other companies to purchase its electric commercial vans, a vehicle model that was previously offered exclusively to Amazon. Rivian has committed to providing Amazon with 100,000 vans by 2030.

Rivian continues to grapple with an increased number of customers who had ordered a Rivian vehicle, changed their minds and decided not to purchase their reserved EVs. About $452 million in losses came from write-downs on the value of inventory, including canceled orders.

While EV sales continue to increase in the U.S. and hit milestones, plug-in vehicle adoption has been slower than industry experts initially predicted. Rivian CEO R.J. Scaringe told investors Tuesday that doubt over EV adaption has not swayed his outlook.

“I want to emphatically state just how deeply convicted we are that the entire automotive industry will be transitioning to electric over the next one or two decades,” he said.

Rivian ended the third quarter with $9.1 billion in cash reserves. The company’s liquid reserves will also help fund the company’s future EV factory in southern Morgan and Walton counties, where Rivian plans to launch its new line of R2 crossover SUVs. The company expects to reveal the new vehicle in early 2024.

(*UPDATED DRONE PHOTO*) Aerial photograph shows the 2,000-acre Rivian factory site in southern Walton and Morgan counties, Thursday, March 30, 2023, in Social Circle. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)


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Rivian is expected to soon begin vertical construction on its 2,000-acre project site, which is expected to open in 2025. Scaringe said he visited the area in October, adding that “it’s great to see the site starting to take form.”

Rivian debuted as a public company in 2021 with one of the biggest American initial public offerings ever. The company’s stock plummeted last year as the company grappled with a semiconductor shortage, layoffs, recalls and lower-than-expected manufacturing numbers. As a startup learning to master the intricacies of mass production, it was largely expected that Rivian would burn through billions of dollars as it perfected its operations.

Share prices ended Tuesday slightly up at $17.42. Cox Enterprises, owner of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, owns about a 4% stake in Rivian.