EV startup Rivian to build $5 billion plant in Georgia, posts quarterly loss

DETROIT (Reuters) -Amazon-backed electric vehicle startup Rivian Automotive Inc on Thursday said it will build a $5 billion plant in Georgia, its second U.S. assembly plant, as it looks to expand production.

In its first publicly reported quarterly results since it went public last month, Rivian also reported a third-quarter loss. Shares of Rivian tumbled almost 4% in after-hours trading.

The new plant will employ more than 7,500 people, is scheduled to open in 2024 and will eventually build 400,000 vehicles a year, largely confirming plans previously outlined in documents filed with other states.

With a market value of almost $93 billion, Rivian made its Nasdaq debut last month in the world’s biggest initial public offering of 2021. Rivian raised almost $14 billion in the IPO to fund future growth on top of the $10.5 billion it had raised privately from such investors as Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Ford Motor (NYSE:F) Co. Amazon owns 20% of Rivian and Ford owns about 12%.

The Irvine, California-based company has struggled with the launch of its R1T pickup, R1S SUV and delivery van for Amazon as supply-chain constraints, including chip shortages, hit automakers globally. The pickup launched in September and the SUV in December.

During the pandemic, the chip shortage forced automakers to curtail vehicle production and vehicle prices rose due to limited inventories. Companies are now scrambling to protect operations against the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Rivian, other startups and established automakers are racing to take on EV leader Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) Inc as pressure grows in regions including China and Europe to eliminate vehicle emissions.

Rivian’s Georgia plant will join the one in Normal, Illinois. The company intends to eventually open plants in Europe and China. Chief Executive R.J. Scaringe previously said Rivian plans to build at least 1 million vehicles a year by the end of the decade.

The Illinois plant currently has an annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles and Rivian has said it intends to increase that to 200,000 by 2023 as it adds new vehicles. Scaringe has said the company has sold out its R1 lineup into 2023.

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