Rivian warns supply issues to hit production, shares drop to record low

Rivian Automotive Inc (RIVN.O) shares fell over 15% to a new low on Friday as the electric car maker’s first earnings report as a publicly traded business underlined the obstacles it would face in ramping up production to compete with EV leader Tesla Inc. (TSLA.O).

Rivian’s stock fell as low as $92.62 in early trade, breaking through the $100 barrier for the first time, and was still down roughly 11% in the afternoon. They had gained roughly 40% since the company’s big market debut in November before Friday’s dip.

Rivian revealed plans to build a $5 billion plant in Georgia to increase capacity on Thursday, despite facing production issues despite receiving 2,000 pre-orders every week.

“We don’t want to read too much into near-term difficulties,” said RBC Capital Markets analyst Joseph Spak, “but it does underscore the possibility that Rivian has a lot on its plate.”

Due to supply chain restrictions, the Irvine, California-based business expects to fall “a few hundred vehicles shy” of its 2021 target of 1,200 vehicles.

In a few months, increasing production of the R1T truck, R1S SUV, and Amazon delivery vans will be like “a highly intricate orchestra,” according to Chief Executive Officer RJ Scaringe.

Rivian has received 71,000 pre-orders for its R1 automobiles, up from 55,400 in October, but some on Wall Street believe the number is low. Rivian has also had trouble getting the vehicles into the hands of buyers.

“The robust order book supports the manufacturing ramp,” Wells Fargo analyst Colin Langan said, “albeit it does increase pressure to get vehicles to customers who may become impatient as current R1 orders won’t be ready until the end of 2023.”

Rivian’s new Georgia plant will begin construction next summer, with car production beginning in 2024. The business wants to raise production at its plant in Normal, Illinois, by 50,000 vehicles. The plant began producing the R1T pickup in September and added the R1S SUV this week, with the delivery van following later this month. Musk predicted high production and breakeven cash flow soon after Rivian’s IPO.

Officials from Georgia’s Department of Economic Development declined to reveal how much the incentives for Rivian will cost since the details are still being worked out. According to some accounts, Georgia awarded Korean manufacturer Kia more than $450 million in incentives for a new plant, and officials in Texas offered Rivian up to $440 million for the new plant.