Well-known Tesla competitor

Well-known Tesla competitor

The chief executive of this growing rival thinks “the world’s better because Tesla’s here.”

Bolstered by Tesla (TSLA) – Get Free Report, the electric vehicle market has been in the throes of an exponential growth surge over the past few years. The share of EVs in total car sales has spiked from 4% in 2020 to 14% in 2022, according to the International Energy Agency, with trends pointing in an upward direction.

The continuous increase in EV popularity has spawned a number of EV-focused startups as Tesla works to maintain its lead and legacy automakers attempt to gain a foothold in the market. Rivian Automotive (RIVN) – Get Free Report is prominent among these smaller, fast-rising firms.

The company beat Wall Street expectations to deliver 15,564 vehicles in the third quarter of 2023, more than double the 6,500 cars it delivered last year.

And as Rivian — known for its all-electric pickup trucks and SUVs — strives to compete in a market dominated by Tesla, which delivered 435,000 vehicles for the quarter, the company’s founder and CEO RJ Scaringe is cognizant of operating in the shadow of Elon Musk.

But where Tesla’s chief executive is loud and assertive in his predictions about Tesla and statements about almost everything, Scaringe is purposefully more understated.

But where Tesla’s chief executive is loud and assertive in his predictions about Tesla and statements about almost everything, Scaringe is purposefully more understated.

Rivian’s CEO is focused on products over social media posts

“I’m not by any means shy, but I’d rather put my head down and focus on execution,” Scaringe told GQ, citing the amount of “noise” prevalent in today’s society. “The reason Rivian was created, and the reason we’re working hard, is to create products that shift mindsets and to create incredible experiences. Not to build something that in any way is trying to create polarization or trying to say ‘us versus them.'”

This more subtle approach, he said, hasn’t hurt the company as it has removed the distractions so common in the industry to allow the cars to speak for themselves.

“Now, it’s not the fastest way to build a brand, right? Making bombastic statements is always a faster way to get a lot of coverage, a lot of clicks, but we don’t have a shortage of demand, we have a lot of people really excited,” Scaringe said. “In fact, our biggest customer complaint today is that we’re not building vehicles fast enough.”

Despite the fact that Tesla is the regular elephant in the EV room, Scaringe thinks that the world is “better because Tesla’s here.” Still, he said, it is important to remember that the world is still in the early stages of vehicle electrification: “There’s a lot of growth left. And it’s still very unclear who’s going to be the big owners of the market as you add up to 100 percent.”

And with Rivian closer to launching its new R2 model, which will be priced much lower than the company’s flagship R1T at $40,000 to $60,000, Scaringe is aware that he is about to come up against Tesla’s dominance more directly. But he remains confident in the brand that he is building.

“If you’re a racecar driver, and you spend all your time looking at the cars, the left and the right, you’re going to run into the wall,” he said. “When you play the game that we’re playing, we need to focus on the products we’re building.”

Shares of Rivian tumbled last week after the company announced a plan to issue $1.5 billion in convertible bonds. Rivian’s stock fell more than 2% Monday morning.

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