Rivian’s Inauspicious Beginning to a Challenging Year

Rivian has a challenging year ahead — and the first quarter is off to a tepid start. Both of those figures are down from the fourth quarter of 2023, where it built 17,541 and shipped 13,972. Rivian did signal that it plans to make roughly the same number of EVs as it did in 2023. Producing and selling vehicles, which includes the R1S SUV, R1T pickup and two versions of a commercial electric van, has never been the company’s only challenge. Tesla reported its own very weak first quarter sales on Tuesday.

Rivian has a challenging year ahead. The first quarter has not had a strong start. The EV startup announced Tuesday that it built 13,980 vehicles and delivered 13,588 of them in the first quarter of 2024. These numbers are lower compared to the previous quarter in 2023, where it built 17,541 and shipped 13,972.

Rivian did mention its plan to produce the same number of EVs as it did in 2023. If the company can keep up with the 2023 numbers, it should reach its targets. However, things will not get easier from here. In the second quarter, Rivian is planning to shut down its production lines for several weeks to make upgrades. These upgrades are crucial for the company to reduce the cost of building its EVs. This is another challenging hurdle it must conquer if it wants to remain relevant and stay in the game long enough to bring its next-generation R2 EVs to the market in 2026.

Aside from producing and selling vehicles, which include the R1S SUV, R1T pickup, and two versions of a commercial electric van, Rivian also faces the challenge of lowering the cost of building its EVs in order to become profitable. In February, the company reported a loss of around $43,000 for every vehicle sold in the final quarter of last year.

All of this uncertainty is happening at a time when many companies are struggling to meet the high expectations that were set by the booming sales of EVs in the last two years. Tesla also reported weak first-quarter sales on Tuesday. Ford has reduced its ambitions for its flagship EVs. In the startup world, Lucid Motors stated in February that it only plans to produce around 9,000 luxury sedans this year as it continues to establish its market. Fisker has also faced difficulties, only selling half of the 10,000 electric SUVs that its contract manufacturer made in 2023.

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Zara Khan

Zara Khan is a seasoned investigative journalist with a focus on social justice issues. She has won numerous awards for her groundbreaking reporting and has a reputation for fearlessly exposing wrongdoing.

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