Skip to main content

The Rivian R1T holds a unique position in the midsize truck segment. No other midsize pickup gets close to the R1T’s max towing capacity of 11,000 pounds or its massive 835 horsepower and 908 pound-feet of torque with its optional quad-motor setup. It has similar dimensions to its closest competition, but it’s the only model to offer an all-electric powertrain.

Of course, it’s also the most expensive of the group, starting at around $73,000. Sales of the R1T are on pace for a breakout year, but the EV pickup still has a ways to go to match the popularity of more established nameplates.

A Rivian R1T electric truck evokes feelings of Walden when it comes to off-roading
2023 Rivian R1T | Rivian

Rivian R1T sales are improving but still lag rivals

According to GoodCarBadCar, Rivian sold 3,450 R1T models during the first quarter of the year—nearly four times the number of pickups the company sold for the first three months of 2022—making it one of the few midsize pickups to improve year-over-year.

Its spike far outpaces that of the rest of the midsize class. The Honda Ridgeline is up 39% and Toyota Tacoma sales have increased 6% while the Chevy Colorado, Ford Ranger, Jeep Gladiator and Nissan Frontier are all down by double-digit percentage points.

Still, the R1T’s popularity could be considered a blip on the radar.

With under 3,500 units sold for Q1, the R1T is by far the least popular midsize truck among buyers. The Toyota Tacoma, the most popular of the bunch, outsold the R1T at a rate of about 22-to-one.

During the same period, Ford and Nissan each sold over 12,000 more of their models, and the Gladiator still managed to move over 10,000 more units than the R1T despite the Jeep being down nearly 25% over Q1 2022.

Rivian is still establishing itself

The R1T has tough sledding ahead to match the popularity of more established pickup manufacturers and their established nameplates, but that’s to be expected for the newcomer to the fray.

After all, Rivian is still amping up production to meet what appears to be rising demand. Most notably, the automaker is still working to finalize its $5 billion factory in Georgia, which the company claims will be capable of producing up to 400,000 vehicles per year.

However, legal troubles and local opposition have stalled the factory. Construction on the facility was initially scheduled to begin last summer but has not begun in earnest.

Additionally, Rivian announced in its end-of-year shareholder update that supply chain woes continue to limit production at its Illinois facility as the brand looks to get its Georgia facility off the ground.

Brand loyalty is also a critical factor in the pickup segment, and Rivian simply hasn’t been around long enough to establish the kind of following, say, the Tacoma enjoys. But the R1T’s rising popularity during the first few months of the year could signal a positive outlook for the EV pickup.

The R1T is catching up to the likes of the GMC Canyon, the most “luxe” of the midsize pickups outside of the Rivian. The Canyon outsold the R1T by about 1,500 units in Q1.

As production increases, more buyers become willing to pay a premium for an all-electric pickup. Plus Rivian cements itself in the market, the R1T could become a major and popular player in the midsize truck class.