Investors in the electric vehicle (EV) sector have closely followed Rivian Automotive (RIVN -25.60%) since its initial public offering (IPO) last fall. Shares soared following its public debut, with investors valuing the company at more than $100 billion before it produced a single vehicle.
Now, while Rivian is working to ramp up production, it is facing supply chain shortages that forced management to reduce its estimate for 2022 vehicle production. Shares plunged again today after The Wall Street Journal reported more dire warnings, from Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe, related to the supply chain. Now the stock is approaching its all-time low. With its market capitalization below $35 billion, is this a good time to buy?
Scaringe told investors last week that the ongoing semiconductor shortage pales in comparison to what might be coming for battery cell supplies. He noted that "the world's cell production combined represents well under 10% of what we will need in 10 years."
But the Rivian CEO also said that he is confident the company can get past the near-term supply chain challenges and support the high demand for its vehicles. Though the company lowered production estimates for this year due to material supply shortages, Scaringe said he is confident the company can hit its revised estimate for 25,000 vehicles in 2022. That includes its R1T platform pickup truck and SUV, as well as the electric delivery vehicles (EDVs) it has begun making for early investor, and 20% shareholder, Amazon.
The company is working with suppliers, even sending Rivian employees to supplier facilities to aid production and deliveries. As of early March 2022, the company had about 83,000 preorders for the R1T vehicles and another 100,000 electric vans ordered from Amazon.
The potential battery cell supply concern won't be unique to Rivian. Investors in any name in the sector must be comfortable with company-specific risks along with general sector unknowns. But if Rivian executes and satisfies its initial backlog of preorders, the stock price drop should look like an enticing entry point for long-term investors.