Another big trend that is reshaping the auto industry is self-driving cars. On Tuesday, Cruise, a GM unit working in that sector, announced that it had raised $ 2 billion from Microsoft, GM, Honda and other investors. Rivian and Tesla are also working on autonomous driving technology.
Rivian differs from Tesla in several ways. Tesla has so far grown by selling sports sedans, a vehicle that is currently not popular with consumers. Tesla plans to begin production of a futuristic, oddly angled pickup, the Cybertruck, later this year. But it has yet to focus much on trucks and SUVs, which account for 75% of the US passenger car market.
Rivian, on the other hand, focuses on producing “adventure” cars where owners can go off-road, an approach that means Rivian will not often compete directly with Tesla. “There is a perception that this is the winner, and that’s wrong,” he said. “Consumers need different brands, different flavors. Our success is not mutually exclusive with the success of others.
The Rebecca Puck Stair is the kind of car Rivian hopes to attract. A screening site scout in Albuquerque, NM, she’s been wanting to buy an electric car for a few years, but needs high ground clearance and four-wheel drive capabilities for missions that bring her into the desert. “That doesn’t exist in the market,” she said. “A Tesla doesn’t suit my needs.”
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About a year ago, she heard about Rivian for the first time and put down a deposit to buy an SUV the next day – like Tesla, the company has no plans to sell through dealers. Ms. Stair had seen Cybertruck, but the design was not for her. “It just screamed ‘nasty guy’s truck,’ she said with a laugh.
Rivian trucks and SUVs, which start at $ 67,500, look more conventional, as if they were designed by Land Rover.
Unlike Tesla, which is trying to grow rapidly, Rivian is taking calculated steps. Last year, before the pandemic struck, they said they plan to produce around 20,000 pickups and SUVs by 2021 and around 40,000 by 2022. It has yet to give an updated outlook. It is targeting a Normal production capacity of 250,000 vehicles a year by mid-decade. The company did not disclose how many orders it has received, but a spokesperson said it already has customers lined up for all the vehicles it is expected to make this year.