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EV startup Rivian to build $5 billion plant in Georgia, posts quarterly loss

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The company logo is seen on a Rivian R1T pickup, the Amazon-backed electric vehicle (EV) maker, as it is parked outside the Nasdaq Market site during the company’s IPO in Times Square in New York City, U.S., November 10, 2021. REUTERS/Brenda

By Ben Klayman

DETROIT (Reuters) -Amazon-backed electric vehicle startup Rivian Automotive Inc on Thursday said it will build a $5 billion plant in Georgia, its second U.S. assembly plant, as it looks to expand production.

In its first publicly reported quarterly results since it went public last month, Rivian also reported a third-quarter net loss of $1.2 billion. Rivian’s shares fell 3.1% in after-hours trading after the company said it expected production to fall a few hundred vehicles short of its 2021 target of 1,200.

The new plant will employ more than 7,500 people, is scheduled to open in 2024 and will eventually build 400,000 vehicles a year, largely confirming plans previously outlined in documents filed with other states. Rivian and the state of Georgia did not disclose the tax incentives the company will receive.

With a market value of almost $93 billion, Rivian made its Nasdaq debut last month in the world’s biggest initial public offering of 2021. Rivian raised almost $14 billion in the IPO to fund future growth on top of the $10.5 billion it had raised privately from such investors as Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Ford Motor (NYSE:F) Co. Amazon owns 20% of Rivian and Ford owns about 12%.

The Irvine, California-based company has struggled with the launch of its R1T pickup, R1S SUV and delivery van for Amazon as supply-chain constraints, including chip shortages, hit automakers globally.

The pickup launched in September and the SUV in December, and Rivian has delivered 386 of the 652 vehicles it has built. Rivian said it plans to ship the first vans to Amazon this month.

During the pandemic, the chip shortage forced automakers to curtail vehicle production and vehicle prices rose due to limited inventories. Companies are now scrambling to protect operations against the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Rivian, other startups and established automakers are racing to take on EV leader Tesla Inc as pressure grows in regions including China and Europe to eliminate vehicle emissions.

Rivian’s Georgia plant will join the one in Normal, Illinois. The company intends to eventually open plants in Europe and China. Chief Executive R.J. Scaringe previously said Rivian plans to build at least 1 million vehicles a year by the end of the decade.

The Illinois plant currently has an annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles and Rivian has said it intends to increase that to 200,000 by 2023 as it adds new vehicles. Scaringe has said the company has sold out its R1 lineup into 2023.

On Thursday, Rivian said that as of Dec. 15, it had about 71,000 R1T and R1S pre-orders in the United States and Canada, up from 55,400 it reported at the end of October. Ford said this month it had capped reservations for its F-150 Lightning electric pickup at 200,000.

Rivian also has a contract to build 100,000 electric delivery vans for Amazon by 2025. Rivian has agreed to provide the last-mile vans exclusively to Amazon for four years, with further rights the following two years. Scaringe has stressed that Rivian still has opportunities in other segments including cargo, mid-mile, commercial van and work van.

Ford and Rivian dropped plans to jointly develop an EV. Ford continues to ramp up its EV development and manufacturing, targeting global production capacity of 600,000 by late 2023.

EV startup Rivian to build $5 billion plant in Georgia, posts quarterly loss

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