Automotive

Rivian Looking For A Production Rebound After Miserable 2021


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Photo: Michael M. Santiago (Getty Images)

Rivian is looking to ramp up production of its electric trucks after a rough 2021 filled with multiple production issues and delays. The company is eyeing a target of almost 200 delivery-ready vehicles per week.

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The company paused production at its Normal, Illinois plant for about a week earlier this month for fixes and process improvements, according to a report from Bloomberg.

That 200 vehicle goal is a large jump over what they were doing. After starting a limited production run of the R1T pickup in August, the company averaged 50 units a week through the end of 2021. The rate has fluctuated, with the number dropping far lower than that by the end of December due to Covid outbreaks at the plant and supply-chain issues that have plagued the automotive industry.

It’s all a sign of progress for the first-time automakers, but the brand’s success will depend on honing manufacturing processes and navigating supply-chain issues, according to Bloomberg.

These issues have had a big impact on Rivian’s stock value. The company, at its peak, was worth $170 a share in the days following its IPO. It soon came crashing down — losing nearly two-thirds of its value.

The company admitted during its quarterly earnings report in December that production would fall “a few hundred vehicles short” of its goal to make 1,200 trucks by the end of the year. Rivian said earlier this month it ended 2021 having produced 1,015 trucks and delivered 920.

Sources tell Bloomberg that output of the R1T truck was slowed in part because of the start of production of their second vehicle — the R1S SUV. The SUV also uses the same production line as the R1T.

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The company is also working on an all-electric delivery van for Amazon. That vehicle, however, is being produced on a separate assembly line. Rivian is tasked with delivering 10,000 vans by the end of the year and 100,000 by the end of the decade.

By 2023, Rivian says its Normal facility will be capable of producing 150,000 EVs per year, with plans to increase that capacity to 200,000 the next year. The company has also announced a second plant to be built in Georgia with the eventual goal of producing 400,000 vehicles annually.

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This isn’t the first time an EV company has had issues meeting delivery expectations. Tesla ran into the same issues in 2017 with the Model 3. Let’s just hope the quality control is better.

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