Ford's lack of e-pickup faith leaves Rivian stock in the lurch

Fears that e-pickup leader Ford's attempts to stimulate demand in the segment may affect Rivian R1T sales

Ford's lack of e-pickup faith leaves Rivian stock in the lurch
Rivian's R1T is seeing diminishing demand

Shares of California EV start-up Rivian hit an all time low today as moves from Detroit legacy automaker Ford sounded alarms about electric truck demand.

Rivian stock hit $9.57/share, 92pc down from its all-time high of $120/share which the firm saw at its IPO. However, Rivian has given no corporate updates since the unveiling of its well-received R2 and R3 SUVs, which position the company to compete against mid-size crossover, such as Tesla's globally best-selling Model Y.

The company even posted solid year-on-year growth in Q1 sales and production, so commentators may be wondering why have the firm's shares decline now?

Rather, it was announcements from Ford which appear to have spooked the markets on Rivian stock. The Detroit automaker cut prices on its e-pickup, the F-150 Lightning, leaving several trims of the truck reduced by as much as $6,500.

Ford is also offering a rebate incentive for customers who already own a Tesla, suggesting that Ford sees reducing upfront cost as key to converting conquest customers away from Elon Musk's market leading EVs.

But price cuts from Ford, one of Rivian's main rival in the US electric truck space, and leader of the e-pickup market with the Lightning, leaves Rivian's R1T truck in the lurch in terms of affordability, with its cheapest model starting at $71,700.

According to data from Desrosiers Automotive Consultants, Rivian sold over 19,000 R1Ts in 2023 ,compared to over 24,000 R1S SUVs. The same data shows that R1T sales have been down year-on-year in each month of 2024, including a 33pc fall in March.

Warnings sounds have been sounding about US electric truck demand for some time.  Ford's upcoming e-pickup — which CEO Jim Farley last year called "one of the most thrilling vehicles I have ever seen in my career" — will be delayed until 2026.

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The move may be further evidence that the firm is concentrating resources more on its so-called 'skunkworks' project to develop cheaper, smaller EVs than its more conventional portfolio strategy.

Ford also yesterday announced a renewed pickup truck "offensive", a strategy to push its ICE F-150 and Ranger vehicles to broader dealer distribution, at the expense of the electric Lightning.

"Ford plans to start diversifying Ranger powertrains in Europe by adding a plug-in hybrid targeted at businesses that are not quite ready for full electric vehicles – but need to meet the requirements of low- or no-emission city centers," Ford says.

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