Rivian Stock Tanks on Missed Earnings Expectations, Shareholders Lawsuits

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

Rivian Stock Tanks on Missed Earnings Expectations, Shareholders Lawsuits
Courtesy of Rivian

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Rivian saw its stock slump as much as 13% in after-hours trading Thursday after the company announced it had missed earnings expectations—by a lot.

The Amazon-backed, Irvine-based electric automaker suffered a $2.5 billion net loss in the fourth quarter of 2021—roughly seven times the $353 million it lost in the same quarter of 2020. The company lost a total of $4.7 billion in the 2021 fiscal year on annual revenues of just $55 million.

Once positioned to rival Tesla in the electric vehicle market, Rivian now plans to produce only half of its initial 50,000-car production target for 2022. The company said it has “experienced several headwinds and other factors impacting our production ramp,” including a planned 10-day shutdown to “fine-tune” its production lines and “significant supply chain limitations,” it said in a letter to shareholders. As well as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Rivian also blamed winter weather conditions at its Midwest factories for contributing to production delays.

Rivian’s costs skyrocketed in 2021 as it poured $3.8 billion into its operating activities over the course of the year, up from $1 billion in 2020. To compensate, Rivian said it would raise prices as much as 20% on its forthcoming electric pickup trucks and electric SUVs.

Facing a fierce backlash from customers in the wake of the move (as well as subsequent lawsuits from shareholders), CEO R.J. Scaringe apologized last week and said Rivian would maintain its original prices for customers who pre-ordered cars before March 1. Scaringe attributed the price hikes to rising production costs. “I have made a lot of mistakes since starting Rivian more than 12 years ago, but this one has been the most painful,” he said. “I am truly sorry and committed to rebuilding your trust.”

On Rivian’s earnings call on Thursday, Scaringe said the company’s “goal is to deliver as many vehicles as we possibly can this year.” He added that “were it not for supply chain constraints, we’d be confident we could deliver 50,000 vehicles this year.” The CEO noted that Rivian is experiencing challenges in acquiring nickel needed for batteries as well as semiconductors, wire harnesses and circuit boards.

Rivian said it had produced 1,410 vehicles in 2022 so far, for a grand total of 2,425 electric cars manufactured to date. As of March 8, Rivian said it had received 83,000 pre-orders for its vehicles.


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