On Tuesday after the market close, Rivian Automotive (RIVN -0.10%) announced its vehicle production and delivery numbers for the fourth quarter of 2022 and for the full year. The California-based premium electric vehicle (EV) maker missed its annual production target of 25,000 vehicles; it hadn't provided a target for deliveries.

Rivian shares edged down 0.4% in Tuesday's after-hours trading session. The market's initial nonplussed reaction makes good sense, as the company didn't miss its production guidance by much. 

For background, Rivian held its initial public offering (IPO) in November 2021. It currently produces three vehicles -- two consumer models, the R1T pickup truck and the R1S SUV, and an electric delivery vehicle, or EDV, for its partner Amazon, which owns a large stake in Rivian. 

Close-up of two Rivian pickups driving on a dirt road.

Image source: Rivian.

Fourth-quarter 2022 production and delivery numbers

For the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2022, Rivian produced a total of 10,020 vehicles and delivered 8,054 vehicles. These numbers are up 36% and 22%, respectively, from the third quarter. These percentages reflect strong quarter-over-quarter growth. 

The company produced all its vehicles at its factory in Normal, Illinois, which is currently its only production facility. (It's in the very early stages of constructing a second factory in Georgia.)

Full-year 2022 production and delivery numbers

For the full year, Rivian produced 24,337 vehicles and delivered 20,332 vehicles. Below are the company's 2022 numbers broken out by quarter.

Period Vehicles Produced Vehicles Delivered
Q1 2022 2,553 1,227
Q2 2022 4,401 4,467
Q3 2022 7,363 6,584 
Q4 2022 10,020 8,054
Total 2022 24,337 20,332

Data source: Rivian. 

In the fourth quarter, Rivian delivered about 20% fewer vehicles than it produced, while this metric was about 11% in the third quarter. Investors should not be concerned about the gap increasing. On the company's third-quarter earnings call, CFO Claire McDonough shared management's expectation that this gap would expand in Q4 and then should begin to narrow in subsequent quarters.

She said that there would be an increase in production volume toward the end of the quarter coinciding with the company's ramp up of its second shift at this time. There would not be enough time to deliver a good numbers of these vehicles by quarter-end, especially since the company was transitioning its primary shipping method to rail from truck. (Rail typically has a longer in-transit time.) In addition, management anticipated that some customers would not be available to take delivery during the end of December because of holiday plans.  

A solid job ramping up production

Like other automakers, Rivian faced strong production headwinds last year, including continued supply chain and logistics issues that were ignited by the pandemic. Most notably, there was a shortage of the semiconductors that automakers need to produce their vehicles.

In light of these challenges, Rivian did a solid job ramping up its production in the third and fourth quarters. Granted, the company missed its 25,000 annual production target, but the shortfall -- 633 vehicles -- was relatively small. Investors should be satisfied, in my view.