Rivian’s performance: A mixed picture.
Rivian is showing promising results, having successfully delivered electric trucks for nearly two years. The company’s latest quarterly report shows impressive growth, with 16,304 vehicles delivered, beating both the previous quarter and analysts’ expectations. Beneath that success, however, is a troubling financial picture: a loss of nearly $33,000 per vehicle.
Collaboration and competition are in the past.
Ford, once a major investor in Rivian and planning to use Rivian’s Skateboard platform, eventually dropped the collaboration and opted to develop its own EV solutions. This turnaround not only changed Ford’s direction, but also marked a transformational phase for Rivian, culminating in a reduction in Ford’s financial support. The move brought Rivian and Ford into a competitive field.
The harsh financial truth.
A recent report in The Wall Street Journal reveals Rivian’s severe losses. Even with a whopping $1.121 billion in revenue, Rivian posted a loss of $32,595 per vehicle in Q2 2023. Thus, the company’s gross margin ended up at a negative 29%. The reasons? High startup costs, production ramp-up, hiring, and R&D investments.
Rivian, which is currently one of the most expensive electric vehicle manufacturers in the world with a market value of more than $100 billion, faces a daunting task. Despite an average selling price of $80,000 per vehicle, the company is losing about $33,000 on each vehicle due to rising manufacturing costs. This challenge is further exacerbated by market trends that have seen the average selling price of EVs drop to around $53,376 per vehicle.
Rivian’s strategy and outlook.
Rivian’s emphasis on luxury trucks and SUVs, which account for about 83% of the company’s total sales, and the attraction of a select market segment further exacerbates its financial challenges. In two years, the company has already depleted “half of its $18 billion cash pile,” largely due to production constraints and component procurement costs.
However, hope is not yet lost. Thanks to increased production and cost-cutting measures by CEO R. J. Schering, there are signs of improvement. Nevertheless, the problems remain serious.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Rivian engineers are aiming to reduce production costs to $40,000 per vehicle. However, questions arise: Will cost reductions alone be able to bring Rivian to profitability by the end of 2024? While loss margins per vehicle are showing improvement, upcoming third-quarter financial results will provide a clearer picture of Rivian’s trajectory.
Rivian’s third quarter results, scheduled to be released on November 7, will provide a deeper insight into the company’s financial health and its chances of meeting its profitability targets next year. The EV market, competitive and challenging, is one we will be watching closely.
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