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The Rivian R1S made a significant splash in the EV segment with its available quad-motor setup cranking out a whopping 835 hp, its legitimate off-road capability, and upscale and ultra-modern interior styling. It’s also the first SUV offering from Rivian, which has shown greater potential for success than some of its fellow fledging all-electric automakers. However, the R1S’s bevy of appealing features and headlines haven’t yet translated to sales success.

The Rivian R1S is struggling to attract buyers

A blue Rivian R1S charging outside at the sunset in front of some mountains.
2022 Rivian R1S | Rivian

According to figures from GoodCarBadCar, Rivian sold just 225 Rivian R1S models through the first four months of the 2023. Its sales figures are staggeringly low even compared to the R1S’s stablemate, the Rivian R1T. Through the same period, 3,450 R1T models were sold, outselling the R1S by a factor of over 15-to-one.

Between the two Rivian models, the R1T pickup is clearly the more popular choice, which aligns with pickups sales dominating the U.S. model sales charts for decades. It also could result from the markets in which the Rivian competes. Though the R1S resides in a limited segment as an all-terrain capable EV SUV, the luxury all-electric crossover market is rapidly expanding, with automakers like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, and Cadillac all introducing new, less niche models in the last few years.

Meanwhile, the R1T is the only midsize all-electric truck available.  

While Rivian and its investors are unlikely to expect Tesla-like sales figures this early into the company’s foray into the EV SUV segment, the R1S’s paltry sales are certainly concerning.

Rivian looks to ramp up production and profits

Sales of the Rivian R1S have undoubtedly been impacted by supply chain issues that have improved over the last year but remain a thorn in the side for some automakers. Rivian has helped its own cause by launching in-house production of its Enduro motor line.

The Enduro will be introduced as a dual-motor setup for the R1S, offering over 700 hp and 700 lb-ft of torque. Moving production in-house will give Rivian better control over its supply chain, the company’s Q1 2023 shareholder letter said, and will deliver “meaningful cost savings for Rivian and an affordable price point for both consumer and commercial customers.”

The company said it still expects variations between production and delivery volumes as the Enduro motor line gets up and running. The shareholder letter stated that high production figures are vital for the company’s overall success.

“We continue to believe the supply chain will continue to be the main limiting factor of our Normal [Illinois] facility output,” the letter said, adding the company is set to introduce engineering design changes and technology that late this year that could mitigate supply constraints.

Still up in the air is Rivian’s planned $5 billion production facility in Georgia. Rivian says the factory will produce up to 400,000 vehicles per year. However, legal troubles and local opposition has stalled its progress. Construction on the facility was originally scheduled to begin last summer but has not begun in earnest.


3 Reasons to Choose the 2022 Rivian R1S and 3 Reasons to Not