Rivian, the electric-vehicle maker that went public last year with big ambitions to take on Tesla and others, said Wednesday that supply-chain problems had hobbled it in the first quarter, but it stood by its production forecast for this year.
The company’s shares have declined over 80 percent this year as investors have grown nervous about its prospects. The price rose in after-hours trading on Wednesday as the quarterly results largely met forecasts.
Rivian detailed persistent problems in obtaining semiconductors and other parts. And since the end of March, the company said, the shortages have forced it “to stop production for longer periods than anticipated, resulting in approximately a quarter of the production time being lost due to supplier constraints.”
Rivian said it foresaw making 25,000 vehicles this year, a forecast it made in March. Without the supply constraints, the company said in March that it could produce twice that many.
The output so far totals 5,000. “We have done all this in one of the most challenging operating environments in the decades,” RJ Scaringe, Rivian’s chief executive, said on a call with analysts after the quarterly results were released.
A Critical Year for Electric Vehicles
As the overall auto market stagnates, the popularity of battery-powered cars is soaring worldwide.
All car companies are facing supply-chain constraints, but smaller ones like Rivian that lack long-term relationships with suppliers may find it harder to cope. The difficulties pose more of a risk to newer carmakers, which may have trouble gaining a significant share of the electric-vehicle market before more established companies introduce scores of products in the coming years.
Rivian reported a net loss of $1.6 billion in the first quarter on sales of just $95 million. In the first quarter of last year, Rivian had no sales and a loss of $414 million. The company is reporting large losses because it is spending huge sums to scale up production of its three vehicles: a truck designed primarily for leisure pursuits, a sport utility vehicle and a delivery van for Amazon, an early investor in Rivian and a major shareholder.
The company said it had more than 90,000 orders for its truck and its SUV, compared with around 83,000 in March.
Amazon has ordered 100,000 delivery vans, but Rivian has been reluctant to say how many it has shipped. On Wednesday, it said only that it was “ramping production and deliveries.” On the call with analysts, Mr. Scaringe said he expected the vans to make up roughly a third of the 25,000 vehicles in the 2022 production forecast.
In many ways, Rivian epitomizes the sharp shift to bearishness in the stock market this year.
In November, investors piled into its initial public offering, in which the company raised $13.5 billion, and its shares then soared, briefly giving Rivian a stock market value that was nearly as large as those of Ford Motor and General Motors combined.
But the stock plunged this year after the company cut its production targets. The 80 percent decline in Rivian’s shares is far steeper than a 31 percent drop in Tesla’s stock over the same period and a 38 percent drop for Ford, which is introducing its own electric truck.
Rivian makes vehicles in Normal, Ill., and plans another factory in Georgia. Building and running assembly lines requires enormous amounts of cash, which is why new car companies can run into dire financial straits if production lags and sales fall short. Even Tesla, which sells more electric cars than any other company, sometimes found itself running low on funds.
In the first quarter, Rivian used up $1.45 billion in cash running its business and investing in new facilities and equipment, much more than the $800 million it consumed in the first quarter of 2021. The company had $16.4 billion in cash on its balance sheet at the end of the first quarter, down from $18.1 billion at the end of last year.
The decline in Rivian stock slashed the value of the stakes held by its largest shareholders. Amazon’s 18 percent stake is worth $3.2 billion, down from $16.8 billion at the start of the year. Ford, another early investor, sold some of its shares on Monday, and its remaining stake is worth $1.9 billion. It would have been worth $9.7 billion at the end of last year.