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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Rivian Makes Interior Trim Tweaks, Adds New Features

The rollout of new vehicles at Rivian Automotive Inc. (Nasdaq: RIVN) continues to be a work in progress, with a few production changes announced in recent weeks, along with new updates for the first batch of electric pickup trucks and SUVs from the Irvine firm.

Rivian reservation holders late last month received an email from the head of customer engagement, Tony Caravano, stating an adjustment in the production sequence for the company’s R1T pickup truck and forthcoming R1S SUV.

A prioritization of interior colors is being made, the letter stated.

“The light wood in Ocean Coast is more challenging to produce, so in order to move faster, we are focusing initially on producing with Black Mountain and Forest Edge,” Caravano wrote.

Customers who ordered the Ocean Coast trim are being contacted this month to see if they want to change their orders, to potentially speed up their delivery.

“Building in few build combinations reduces complexity with our suppliers and in the plant and allows us to build a greater number of vehicles,” Caravano also wrote, speaking of the interior trim issues.

Battery Issues Loom

Prospective Rivian owners who have placed orders are getting accustomed to tweaks in timing, pricing, and vehicle options as the company navigates supply chain issues for its initial product.

Rivian has a production goal of 25,000 vehicles for 2022, which are being built at the company’s Normal, Ill. manufacturing plant.

The automaker produced 2,553 vehicles during the first quarter of 2022 and reported 1,227 units delivered during the same period.

Production from its newest plant in Atlanta isn’t set to begin until 2024 with construction starting this summer.

Among other supply issues, company founder and CEO RJ Scaringe told the Wall Street Journal last month during a tour of the Normal plant that EV battery supply could become a greater issue than the current semiconductor shortage, when discussing long-term challenges in the automotive industry.

Sand, Pet Modes

Around the same time as the trim delay notification, Scaringe took to Twitter to announce new standard features set for the next over-the-air update, given via the Rivian app and in-vehicle information displays.

Scaringe tweeted about the addition of “Sand Mode” to developing Rivian vehicles, with a short clip displaying one of Rivian’s SUVs test-driving the new feature in sand dunes.

He also confirmed “Pet Mode,” which keeps interior temperatures comfortable while a pet owner is not in the vehicle, and other dashcam applications would be coming soon.

With a current market cap of $27 billion, Rivian reported fourth-quarter revenue of $54 million, missing the $60 million expected by analysts.

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