Electric vehicle (EV) startup Rivian Automotive Inc. (NASDAQ: RIVN) posted abysmal quarterly figures, which opens the door to anxiety that it will not survive, at least as a standalone public company. Another EV experiment may disappear fairly soon. The market for EVs may be weaker than expected. Certainly, the capital to pursue it has disappeared.
In a letter to shareholders, which was of interest to the entire automaker community, Rivian management said it had a net loss of $1.7 billion. Rivian’s financials were buried under a mountain of positive news about the company that included glowing stories from the media. It was not enough to veil Rivian’s very deep trouble. It expects to lose $5.45 billion for the calendar year.
Some of the trouble was based on the supply chain problems that have affected almost all car companies. The problem with Rivian is that it cannot handle more delays. Rivian said it would build its forecast 25,000 vehicles this year. That remains to be seen. It also trumpeted 100,000 vehicle orders from Amazon. Further, the company said it had 98,000 preorders for its vehicles. Preorders mean nothing, as impatient buyers can go elsewhere.
A Wedbush analyst told Yahoo! Finance that the results were a “horror show” and will drive inventors away from the shares. The Wall Street Journal said Rivian will need to do more to preserve cash. Rivian has only $15 billion left on its balance sheet.
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Rivian also has another hurdle. Its vehicles face competition from much larger companies. At the head of this line is Ford, America’s largest seller of pickups.
The EV market will not be changed if Rivian fails to survive. It already is crowded enough with sellers that inventory will be available to all buyers without a problem.
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