Rivian is still losing a lot of money for each car that it sells, though the Amazon-backed automaker’s CEO recently noted that this was quickly changing as the company ramps up production of its R1T pickup.
In a CNBC Squawk Box interview at the automaker’s Normal, Illinois production facility on Tuesday, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe said that the company sees a “very clear staircase” toward becoming profitable after the company recently beat Q3 delivery estimates.
Although the electric truck and SUV maker was still losing $32,594 per vehicle as of the second quarter, the figure represents a steep dropoff from the past few quarters. Scaringe seems confident this trend will continue, and he says that demand for Rivian’s products is strong.
“That is improving quarter over quarter, so we’re seeing significant progress,” Scaringe said in the interview with the manufacturing plant seen behind him. “And what we’re going to see as we go forward is a very clear staircase or step, set of steps, that get us to profitability as a business.”
“And the ramp of our production plant is really foundational and key for that,” Scaringe added.
Scaringe said that the company is also comfortable with having maintained a balanced budget sheet, which he expects to continue ahead of plans to begin producing the R1S at scale. The company earlier this year raised its production guidance following a strong Q2 earnings report.
The statements come just after Rivian began offering its R1S Max Pack battery, offering 410 miles of range, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It also comes after Scaringe was recently asked about his feelings on the forthcoming Tesla Cybertruck, a question that was reiterated in the Tuesday CNBC interview.
Scaringe echoed recent thoughts about the need for variety in the market, emphasizing that he thinks the Tesla pickup will have a limited amount of overlap with the market of R1T consumers. Instead, he notes that “variety in all segments is necessary for mass-scale electrification.”
Notably, Tesla didn’t have its first full year of profitability until 2021, even after producing and selling its cars for several years. CEO Elon Musk and other executives have regularly talked about the difficulty in scaling production to achieve profitability over the years, not unlike how Scaringe described the process this week.
You can watch CNBC’s full conversation with Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe below.