Electric vehicle maker Rivian Automotive is trying to scale up its Illinois factory to turn out 50,000 vehicles this year, but Cox Automotive estimates first-quarter deliveries of just 8,145 units, for a 1.1 percent gain over the previous quarter.
Luxury EV maker Lucid Motors is growing at a faster clip, but Cox projects deliveries of 1,344 vehicles in the January to March period. That represents a 27 percent increase vs. fourth-quarter 2022, but it's a slow start for Lucid to meet its 2023 guidance of 14,000 Air sedans.
The two startups are cutting costs and laying off workers a year and a half after their first deliveries in fall 2021. Both have seen their stock prices drop by about 70 percent in the last 12 months.
Rivian says it has enough demand, but has been unable to solve manufacturing issues at its Illinois plant, which has a 150,000-unit annual capacity. Lucid says it needs to raise brand awareness to grow its order backlog.
Meanwhile, EV leader Tesla has been able to cut prices, leverage the new $7,500 EV tax credit and post record numbers. Cox estimates U.S. first-quarter deliveries at 180,993 vehicles for Tesla, a 38 percent increase over the previous quarter and a 40 percent improvement from first-quarter 2022.
"Tesla, which lowered prices in the first quarter to spark demand, is forecast to post solid sales gains and surpass market share of 5 percent for the first time," Cox said in its first-quarter sales forecast. "Tesla will be the top luxury-vehicle seller in the U.S. in Q1, by far, with sales more than double that of BMW or Mercedes."
Rivian's projected market share of 0.2 percent for the first quarter is up from 0.1 percent a year earlier, Cox said. Lucid's share is projected to be under 0.1 percent. Both automakers are expected to report sales in April.