Barclays analyst Dan Levy suggests that Rivian Automotive Inc., despite its "leading technology," may face significant hurdles in an increasingly competitive market.
Previously, Levy believed that Rivian's products - the EDV commercial van, the R1T pickup truck, and the R1S sport-utility vehicle - would generate strong demand. However, recent data has shown a decline in demand for the R1S, indicating that the company's three-legged approach may not be as effective as initially anticipated.
Levy attributes this softened demand to the overall challenges facing the electric vehicle (EV) industry. Despite Rivian's position in a niche market and having a dedicated fan base, it appears to be susceptible to the broader pressures impacting the EV sector.
The consequences of this sluggish demand are significant. Levy predicts that not only will Rivian struggle to meet its volume targets, but it may also face pricing risks, potentially hampering its goal of achieving gross margin profitability by 2024. Additionally, as Rivian prepares for the launch of the high-volume R2 in 2026, the company will likely require further capital investment.
In light of these challenges, Levy downgraded Rivian's stock rating to equal weight from overweight. He also lowered his price target to $16 from $25, indicating a bearish outlook. Despite this downgrade, Levy maintains an appreciation for Rivian's long-term narrative and its exposure to megatrends within the market, suggesting that there may still be a core base of demand for the company's stock.
As of Monday morning, Rivian's stock had declined by nearly 2%.
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