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So You Want A Rivian R1T, Now You May Not Have To Wait Very Long

The Rivan R1T electric pickup is selling well, though we don’t have exact numbers because Rivian doesn’t report its sales separately from its R1S SUV and EDV electric delivery vans, as its sales figures are up significantly. What’s better though, some buyers may be able to get one by early next month (as long as they live relatively near a Rivian Service Center and are willing to pick from a “ready to go” configuration).

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So how many EVs is Rivian selling, why is that newsworthy and what does it mean in the grand scheme of EV sales in the US? First, as InsideEVs pointed out, Rivan’s Q1 2023 deliveries (basically analogous to sales) of 7,946 units of its 3 electric vehicle models represents a year over year sales increase of 548 percent! That’s quite a big increase of course, but before you start to think but 8,000-ish vehicles in a calendar quarter really isn’t that many vehicles, know this: according to ArsTechnica.com, Rivian was the automaker with the 5th highest EV sales (or delivery) volume in the US in Q1 2023. Rivian delivered more EVs in the US than Volvo, BMW, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan and others. Of course, that discounts the fact that Hyundai and Kia are part of the same “family”, Hyundai Motor Group (HMG). If we count HMG’s deliveries collectively, they would likely be the second or third largest in EV sales in the US. As you can see from these figures though, Rivian is proving to be one of the better selling EV brands in the US. This is newsworthy because yet again, we see a small start-up EV maker outselling several of the legacy brands, yet one is more likely to hear about how Rivian is struggling, even on the verge of failure, rather than how successful they are in capturing shoppers interest and in creating a true sense of brand identity. None of that is to suggest that Rivian isn’t struggling; their 2023 sales (or delivery) goals are only a modest 50,000 units or so and they may need to raise over a billion dollars in cash via a sale of convertible notes to accomplish that. While it is pretty obvious why brands like BMW, Kia, and Nissan are not typically portrayed as struggling due to their conspicuously lackluster US EV sales, all lower than Rivian’s, Rivian does not have any gas powered vehicles sales to fall back on. And that is the real crux of this whole piece and the sales shift in the largest automotive markets in the world right now: legacy automotive brands, all of them propped up by fossil fuel powered vehicle sales, do not have to sell a lot of EVs, yet, in order to thrive, at least in the eyes of much of the media. Thus, we should be giving at least a token bit of kudos to Rivian for its success. If it were selling twice as many EVs, which would have made it the third best selling EV maker in the US behind GM and Tesla, would the press's optimism about Rivian be any better, or for that matter investor’s optimism? I would humbly suggest no, it wouldn’t. The only way Rivian is going to garner more positive descriptions is if it outsells every legacy brand in the US (instead of all but 3). Rivian would have to sell more than 2.5x as many EVs to achieve that in the near term though. With this newly possible two week wait to get a Rivian, there is a real possibility that Rivian may see some positive bump in their sales, perhaps from those who don’t want to wait for a Tesla Cybertruck, a Chevy Silverado EV, or a Ford F-150 Lightning but it will certainly not be anywhere near 2.5x more sales. That shouldn’t stop them from trying to capitalize on their brand identity, current availability, and marketing strengths to increase their sales. What do you think, readers? Are you interested in a Rivian R1T or R1S? Would faster availability sway you to buy one now, or in the near future? Are you committed to a different vehicle, and if so, why? Please leave your questions and comments below. Image courtesy of Rivian. Justin Hart has owned and driven electric vehicles for over 15 years, including a first generation Nissan LEAF, second generation Chevy Volt, Tesla Model 3, an electric bicycle and most recently a Kia Sorento PHEV. He is also an avid SUP rider, poet, photographer and wine lover. He enjoys taking long EV and PHEV road trips to beautiful and serene places with the people he loves. Follow Justin on Twitter for daily KIA EV news coverage.

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