Rivian tumbles to lowest since IPO after production warning

A Rivian R1T electric pickup truck.

Photographer: Bing Guan/Bloomberg

Rivian Automotive Inc.’s shares fell to the lowest level since they started trading last month after the electric-truck maker’s debut earnings report revealed a slower-than-expected increase in production.

The buzzy company expects to fall “a few hundred vehicles short” of its goal to make 1,200 this year. R.J. Scaringe, Rivian’s chief executive officer, told analysts after Thursday’s close that ramping up production rates has been harder than anticipated.

“Hiccups were inevitable, but RIVN faces some right off the bat,” Joseph Spak, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said in a note, referring to the automaker by its stock ticker. “We don’t want to read too much into near-term issues and believe it doesn’t impact the medium/long-term story, but it does highlight the risk that RIVN has a lot on its plate.”

Read more: Rivian stumbles with miss on EV-output target

The results slowed the company’s momentum after Rivian pulled off the biggest initial public offering of the year. Rivian, backed by big names including Amazon.com Inc., is seen as one of the more promising challengers to Tesla Inc.’s throne, with an electric pickup and SUV in addition to plug-in delivery vans.

Rivian’s shares fell as much as 15% to $92.62 on Friday in New York, the lowest they’ve traded at since the IPO priced at $78 a share. Through Thursday’s close, the stock had climbed 40% since its debut.

The quarterly results weren’t all bad. Net preorders for Rivian’s two R1 models rose to a combined 71,000 on Dec. 15 from 55,400 at the end of October. The company also announced a new plant in Georgia to support growth.

“Rivian’s plans are ambitious,” Alexander Potter, an analyst at Piper Sandler & Co., said in a note. “An apparently lower-than-expected capex burden for Rivian’s second plant, in Georgia, should more than offset any concerns about near-term production choppiness.”

–By Richard Clough (Bloomberg)

–With assistance from Ed Ludlow.

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