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Rivian starts rough year with flat feet

Rivian has a challenging year ahead, with a tepid start to the first quarter.

The electric vehicle startup announced on Tuesday that it produced 13,980 vehicles in the first quarter of 2024 and delivered 13,588. Both figures were lower than production in the fourth quarter of 2023, when the company produced 17,541 vehicles and delivered 13,972 vehicles.

Rivian does say it has plans The number of electric cars produced will be roughly the same as in 2023. So if the company can keep up with the 2023 numbers, it should be able to hit the target. Things don’t get easier from here. Rivian plans to shut down its production lines for several weeks in the second quarter to make upgrades that will help lower the cost of making electric vehicles — another key challenge it must overcome if it hopes to remain relevant and stay in the game Long enough to bring its next-generation R2 electric car to market in 2026.

Producing and selling vehicles, including the R1S SUV, R1T pickup truck and two versions of a commercial electric van, has never been the company’s only challenge. Reducing the cost of manufacturing electric vehicles is critical to profitability. The company reported in February that it lost about $43,000 per vehicle sold in the last quarter of last year.

All of this uncertainty comes as many companies struggle to meet lofty expectations set by a boom in electric vehicle sales over the past two years.

Tesla reported very weak first-quarter sales on Tuesday. Ford has scaled back its ambitions for its flagship electric vehicle. In the startup world, Lucid Motors said in February it only planned to produce around 9,000 luxury sedans this year as it continued to try to establish a market. Fisker’s performance has almost plummeted, with its contract manufacturer selling just half of the 10,000 electric SUVs it plans to build in 2023.

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