Rivian confirms new $5 billion plant, rising EV preorders as supply chain snags pressure production


RJ Scaringe and team on opening day at Rivian’s manufacturing campus in Normal, IL.

Source: Rivian

Rivian Automotive confirmed plans Thursday to build a new $5 billion vehicle assembly plant in Georgia, as the company begins production of a second electric vehicle at its current facility in Illinois.

Both are notable milestones for Rivian, which also reported its first quarterly results as a public company after market close. However, while the company readies to ramp output, supply chain snags are pressuring current production levels.

Rivian said it expects to fall “a few hundred vehicles short” of its 2021 production target of 1,200 vehicles. The company’s stock closed Thursday 5% down and slipped as much as 3% more during after-hours trading.

“We have been met with one of the most complex supply chain environments the automotive industry has ever experienced,” the company said in its shareholder letter. “We are encouraged that the issues we are experiencing, while certainly challenging, are not systemic in nature.”

Rivian said total reservations for its electric R1T pickup and R1S SUV increased to 71,000 as of Dec. 15, up 28% compared with the most recent tally of 55,400 vehicles in November.

The company said it has produced 652 R1T and R1S vehicles and delivered 386 of those, including the production and sale of the first two R1S SUVs earlier this week.

The company’s quarterly results fell in line with Wall Street projections and with estimates the company previously released as part of its recent IPO.

For the third quarter, Rivian reported an operational loss of $776 million and a net loss of $1.23 billion. The company had previously predicted an operational loss between $745 million and $795 million and a net loss between $1.21 billion and $1.28 billion.

The company posted a loss per share of $12.21 on revenue of about $1 million.

Wall Street analysts expected the company to report a $5.52 earnings per share loss on revenue of $1 million, according to a handful of estimates compiled by Refinitiv. CNBC does not compare reported EPS to Wall Street analysts for a company’s first report since going public because of uncertainty around share counts.

The new battery and assembly plant announced Thursday will be east of Atlanta and is expected to facilitate production of up to 400,000 vehicles per year, Rivian said. Construction on the facility is expected to begin in summer 2022, and the start of production is slated for 2024. 

Rivian, whose stakeholders include Amazon and Ford Motor, was the first automaker to go to market with an all-electric pickup truck called the R1T. It went public through a blockbuster IPO in November.

Wall Street analysts have set a high bar for Rivian, comparing CEO RJ Scaringe to Superman and saying the company’s “the one” capable of challenging EV leader Tesla.

Rivian is still a growth story, though. It expects capital expenditures of about $8 billion through 2023, with some analysts such as BofA Securities’ John Murphy forecasting Rivian won’t turn an operating profit until at least 2025.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

— CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.