Rivian (RIVN) R1S cracks top 5 best-selling EVs in Q4 just as EV leasing heats up


Rivian’s R1S electric SUV was the fifth best-selling EV in the US in the fourth quarter. Last year saw a surge in EV leasing, and Rivian just introduced the option on the R1S earlier this year. Can leasing bump Rivian up even further?

Rivian R1S surges as EV leasing rolls out

Rivian’s R1S was the seventh best-selling EV in the US last year. According to data from auto research firm Kelley Blue Book, Rivian handed over nearly 24,800 R1S models in 2023.

The electric “Adventure Vehicle” broke the top five in the fourth quarter as EV leasing surged to a new record.

New data from Xperian’s State of the Automotive Finance Market Report Q4 2023 shows Rivian’s electric was the fifth best-selling EV in the US last quarter. The achievement comes despite Rivian introducing leasing for the R1S just last month.

Rivian’s electric SUV claimed 3.4% of EV sales in Q4, topped only by the Tesla Model Y (31.9%), Tesla Model 3 (17.6%), VW ID.4 (3.9%), and Ford Mustang Mach-E (3.4%).

SUVs, in general, dominated in the fourth quarter, pulling market share from pickups and sedans with almost 63% of financing.

Rivian R1S (Source: Rivian)

The data shows electric vehicles accounted for 8.55% of new retail sales. That’s up from 7.1% a year ago.

“New incentive and rebate programs, combined with more affordable options hitting the market, have resulted in a broader range of consumers choosing EV,” Melinda Zabritski, Experian’s head of auto financial insights, explained.

(Source: Experian)

Over 30% of EV consumers chose to lease their vehicles. That’s a new record, up from only 9.8% in 2022 and 19.3% in 2021.

Meanwhile, Rivian introduced leasing for the R1S in January, opening up a new option for shoppers.

Because of this, Rivian’s R1S was by far the lowest leased EV of the top-selling models. With just 0.94% of R1S shoppers choosing the leasing option, the R1S was far behind the Mach-E (39%), ID.4 (74.5%), Model 3 (14%), and Model Y (9%).

(Source: Experian)

Other top-selling EVs with consumers primarily choosing to lease include the BMW iX (91%), BMW i4 (79%), Nissan Ariya (78%), Hyundai IONIQ 6 (64%), Kia EV6 (57%), and Hyundai IONIQ 5 (49%).

Electrek’s Take

Can leasing push the Rivian R1S past Ford’s Mach-E or the ID.4 over the next few quarters? Rivian has a planned shutdown in Q2 that will impact production.

Due to this, the EV maker expects output to remain flat, with about 57,000 deliveries in 2024. However, Rivian’s CFO, Claire McDonough, explained the company is boosting its R1 line rate by about 30% to compensate.

Ford, on the other hand, is pulling back. The automaker’s CFO, John Lawler, said Ford took “out some Mustang Mach-E production” in October.

Ford’s CEO Jim Farley mentioned a “seismic change” in the EV market earlier this month amid “a ton of new capacity” flowing into the electric SUV segment.

Rivian will introduce its more affordable R2 electric SUV on March 5 as the brand expands into new markets.

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