Rivian, the electric vehicle maker that went public last year with big ambitions to take on Tesla and others, said on Wednesday that supply chain problems had hampered it in the first quarter, but he stuck to his production forecast for this year.
The company’s stock is down more than 80 percent this year as investors have become nervous about the outlook. The price rose 7 percent in after-hours trading on Wednesday, as quarterly results largely met forecasts.
Rivian described persistent difficulties in obtaining semiconductors and other parts. And since late March, the company said, shortages have forced it “to halt production for longer than expected, causing about a quarter of its planned production time to be lost due to supplier restrictions.”
Rivian said it planned to make 25,000 vehicles this year, a forecast it made in March. Without the supply restrictions, the company said in March it could produce twice as much.
The output so far is 5,000. “We did all of this in one of the most challenging operating environments in decades,” Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe said during a meeting with analysts after the quarterly results were released.
All auto companies face supply chain constraints, but smaller companies like Rivian that don’t have long-term supplier relationships may have a harder time dealing with them. The difficulties pose a greater risk to newer automakers, who may struggle to capture a significant chunk of the electric vehicle market before more established companies introduce numerous products in the coming years.
Given such hurdles, investors will be watching for signs that Rivian may fall short of its 2022 production target. “It’s still achievable, but it could be a chore,” said Garrett Nelson, an analyst with the research firm CFRA who covers Rivian. He added that the plunge in Rivian’s stock market value could make it a takeover target for a company looking to enter the electric vehicle market.
Rivian reported a net loss of $1.6 billion in the first quarter on revenue of just $95 million. In the first quarter of last year, Rivian had no sales and a loss of $414 million. The company is reporting huge losses as it spends huge amounts of money to scale up production of its three vehicles: a truck designed primarily for leisure use, an SUV and a van for Amazon, an early investor in Rivian and a major shareholder.
The company said it had more than 90,000 orders for its truck and its SUV, compared to about 83,000 in March.
Amazon has ordered 100,000 vans, but Rivian is afraid to say how many it has shipped. On Wednesday, it just said it was “stepping up production and deliveries.” Speaking with analysts, Mr Scaringe said he expected the vans would make up about a third of the 25,000 vehicles in the 2022 production forecast.
In many ways, Rivian embodies the sharp shift towards bearishness in the stock market this year.
In November, investors plunged into the IPO, raising $13.5 billion, and its shares then skyrocketed, briefly giving Rivian a market capitalization nearly as big as Ford Motor and General Motors combined.
But the stock plummeted this year after the company slashed its production targets. The 80 percent drop in Rivian’s stock is much stronger than a 31 percent drop in Tesla stock over the same period and a 38 percent drop for Ford, which is introducing its own electric truck.
Rivian makes vehicles in Normal, Illinois, and plans another plant in Georgia. Building and running assembly lines requires huge amounts of cash, which is why new car companies can find themselves in serious financial trouble if production falls and sales fall short. Even Tesla, which sells more electric cars than any other company, was sometimes short of money.
In the first quarter, Rivian used $1.45 billion in cash to run its business and invest in new facilities and equipment, far more than the $800 million it consumed in the first quarter of 2021. the end of the first quarter, down from $18.1 billion late last year.
The fall in Rivian’s shares caused the value of the interests of the largest shareholders to fall. Amazon’s 18 percent stake is worth $3.2 billion, up from $16.8 billion at the start of the year. Ford, another early investor, sold some of its shares on Monday, with the remaining stake worth $1.9 billion. At the end of last year, it would have been worth $9.7 billion.
Rivian said it had received more than 10,000 orders for its truck and its SUV after raising prices in March. Those orders had an average price of more than $93,000, the company added.
But because Rivian’s vehicles sell for relatively high prices, analysts wondered how much demand there would be if inflation continued to erode household purchasing power. “It remains to be seen how much appetite consumers have for a Rivian price tag,” said Mr Nelson.