Analysis: Rivian’s coming in hot. Watch out, Elon Musk – News Nation USA

A year ago the name Rivian showed up almost exclusively as the third or fourth name in a list of up-and-coming electric vehicle makers. The big buzz was focused on Tesla (of course) and Nikola (yeesh). If you’re not familiar with Rivian yet, buckle on up.

That values Rivian at almost $86 billion — more than both General Motors and Ford. (Which is kinda awkward, as Ford is a big investor in Rivian, so it’s sorta like when your younger sibling shoots up taller than you and ends up better at sports and stuff. Anyway…)

WHY ALL THE FUSS?

Electric vehicle hype is nothing new (see Tesla’s almost-certainly over-inflated trillion-dollar valuation), but Rivian’s got something of an edge in the US consumer auto market, and big-name partnerships investors love.

  • Rivian’s primary product is not just any EV, it’s a truck. That’s important because Americans really, really love trucks. Year after year, the top three most popular vehicles in the United States are as follows: The Ford F-150, the Chevy Silverado and the Ram, in that order, according to Edmunds.
  • Investors are fired up about Rivian’s partnership with Amazon, which has already ordered 100,000 delivery vans and has taken a roughly 19% stake in the EV maker.
  • The anti-Tesla appeal: While Tesla may dominate the EV space now, Rivian is selling a whole different ~vibe~. As my colleague Matt McFarland wrote recently, Rivian’s gunning for the anti-Musk crowd — the kind of Patagonia-vested folks who surf or go rock climbing on the weekends and are put off by the status-symbol-y flash of owning a Tesla.

Of course, despite all it has going for it right now, Rivian is a baby. Its first-ever vehicle deliveries took place just two months ago. And this is a tough market to scale in. Even the biggest carmakers are struggling with manufacturing hiccups because of, you guessed it, the ol’ global supply chain crisis. And it’s not without competition: Legacy automakers like Volkswagen and General Motors are investing billions in producing their own electric cars.

NUMBER OF THE DAY: 6.2%

Remember when the Fed told us inflation wouldn’t last very long? Welp, bad news strikes again. Over the past 12 months, US consumer prices climbed 6.2% — the biggest increase since November 1990. If I hear the word “transitory” come out of any Fed official’s mouth one more time I’m gonna lose it. If the Silver Fox Jay Powell is looking for a new catchphrase, might we suggest, “here for a while.”

HOUSING HELL, PART 872

Prospective homebuyers, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry.

The median price of single-family existing homes rose in virtually all of the 183 markets tracked by the National Association of Realtors in the third quarter. By virtually all, I mean 99%. And by rose, I mean by a lot.

The median home price was up 16% to $363,700 in the third quarter from a year ago. For all the same reasons we’ve discussed over the past year: Demand is high thanks to record-low mortgage rates, but inventory is tight. That dynamic has barely budged since the pandemic sparked a homebuying frenzy last year.

But there’s a tiny sliver of a silver lining: The prices are going up at a slower rate, CNN Business’ Anna Bahney writes. A 16% increase is big, but not as big as the almost 23% increase we saw in the second quarter.

Like I said, it’s not a huge comfort when you consider that the typical price of a single-family home a year ago was $50,300 less than it is now. But inventory is slowly catching up, and mortgage rates have inched slightly higher, which should help bring prices down…eventually.

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