Rivian Issues Its First Recall: Over 500 Trucks

This has been an extremely rough week for EV startup Rivian. First, it reported a first-quarter loss of over $1.5 billion. Then, Ford dumped $200 million worth of its shares in Rivian stock. And today, it announced its first recall for 502 of its R1T pickups. As we said, a rough week indeed.

What is Rivian recalling trucks for?

Rivian production
Rivian production line | Rivian

The recall is over sensors in front seats that cannot detect either a child or a child seat. Functioning sensors can detect a child or child’s seat is present and deactivates the airbag. The cause is a supplier’s defect where the sensors are not calibrated correctly. Thus, it doesn’t comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety standards. 

“The customer may be made aware of the status of the passenger restraint system by the illumination, or lack thereof, of the ‘passenger airbag off’ lamp in the lower corner of the center display,” Rivian says. “In some circumstances, the passenger seat belt notification may chime when the seat is empty.

What is the Rivian recall fix?

Rivian badge
Rivian rear badge |Getty Images

“In the event of a crash which deploys the front passenger airbag, a seat with this improper calibration may increase the risk of injury for any child or child seat occupant sitting in the seat,” Rivian says. “We are contacting those with affected Rivian vehicles, and they will receive a passenger seat replacement free of charge at a Rivian service center.”

The affected trucks are from the very first one produced on September 21, 2021, to those produced on April 12, 2022. Customers will be notified by July 1, 2022. The company advises not to put a child or child’s seat in the front passenger seat. 

Today Rivian also announced it is determined to produce between 20,000 and 25,000 trucks per its original plans. At that cadence, it is expected to lose almost $5 billion in 2022. It stated that this loss was because it is producing at a low volume on a high-volume assembly line.

Rivian has made 2,500 trucks in 2022

A Canyon Red 2022 Rivian R1T Launch Edition is parked.
The 2022 Rivian R1T Launch Edition | Charles Singh for MotorBiscuit

So far in the calendar year 2022, it has made 2,500 R1T trucks. Since production began in 2021, it has produced a grand total of 3,568 vehicles. Rivian, however, says the number is 5,000 EV trucks. So right now, it is up to 300 vehicles produced a week. That means if it plans on hitting that 25,000 unit number, it better hurry up. We’re almost at the halfway point in 2022 as it is.

But with the stock price plummeting from $180 a share to $20 today, investors aren’t so sure the company is off to a good start. But as Electrek summarized, if Rivian’s current losses continue at this rate, it has about two and one-half years before the money spigot runs dry. That’s a lot of time to right the ship, as startups go. 

That is, providing there aren’t little surprises that keep production at a snail’s pace or the burn-through rate ramps up. It is hard to imagine it could ramp up beyond $1.5 billion, but nobody could have predicted this most recent upheaval. 

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