RIVN

Is Rivian Stock a Screaming Buy After the Launch of Its New Models?

For the first time in quite a while, investors were excited about the prospects for electric vehicle maker Rivian's (NASDAQ: RIVN) stock on Thursday. The company introduced not one, not two, but three new models, and also got a boost from a researcher's new buy recommendation on its shares. Yet Rivian is still struggling with a broad slowdown in EV sales growth, and it remains heavily unprofitable. Perhaps investors should curb their enthusiasm.

New models and new analyst coverage

The three models Rivian unveiled that day look futuristic and sleek and have the company's distinct styling, so they should win over devotees. They aren't much of a departure from the EV maker's foundational R1T pickup and R1S SUV, though, so I'd be concerned that the company might not be widening its consumer base with the new vehicles.

There are heavier worries about Rivian's operations. The launch of the new models and the favorable stock coverage initiation (by veteran investment bank Jefferies) were encouraging, sure. Still, they don't quite paper over the bad news sprinkled throughout Rivian's latest earnings report.

Revenue nearly doubled, that is true, but that's to be expected for a young company in an industry that has been hot until very recently. Rivian is still losing money hand over fist -- for the period, its non-GAAP (adjusted) net loss came in at an eye-watering $1.31 billion, and that was a 20%-plus improvement over the same quarter of 2022. Put another way, Rivian habitually and consistently loses billions of dollars.

Weak production guidance is a concern

Stocks trade on future potential and not trailing performance, as any savvy investor knows. Given that old saw, Rivian is not looking so hot. Despite the new hardware, it is guiding for basically flat annual growth in total production this year (of 57,000 units), far short of the 135% increase in 2023.

So, it doesn't look as though Rivian will have a banner year in 2024, and it needs to do well if it's going to break its loss-making habit. For me, the stock is, at best, a long-term play and likely a pass, given current conditions.

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Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Jefferies Financial Group. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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