In September 2021, EV startup Rivian beat out competitors to bring the first electric pickup truck – the R1T – to market.  

Despite winning the race to launch the first EV pickup truck, production has since lagged. Rivian’s initial output averaged approximately 50 trucks per week. By the end of 2021, they had produced 1,015 and delivered 920 R1Ts to customers. This fell short of their delivery goal of 1,200, and greatly lags exploding customer demand.  

By mid-December, Rivian already had more than 71,000 pre-orders for the R1T. However, despite seeing few R1Ts on the road, consumer enthusiasm continued to grow for the brand throughout 2021. The R1T has won multiple awards, including the 2022 Motor Trend Truck of the Year Award. 

A new strategy to foster excitement 

Traditional car companies rely on dealerships for customers to see and test new models. Rivian generated tens of thousands of truck pre-orders without a single dealership.  

Instead, Rivian has strategically employed live events since their first unveiling at the LA Auto Show to generate hype. Rivian has appeared at and hosted events across the United States to show off R1T prototypes. Events included live demonstrations of the truck’s features, samples of the truck’s available interior and exterior color options, and Rivian merchandise.  

Many consumers have resonated with Rivian’s counter-Tesla persona. In contrast to Tesla’s futuristic vibe, Rivian projects an outdoorsy image, capturing the attention of adventure seekers who desire an environmentally friendly, practical truck. The brand leaned into this demographic, appearing at the Overland Expo in 2019, showing outdoor enthusiasts the truck’s optional Camp Kitchen and other Adventure Gear specifically designed to meet their unique needs. 

All measures of Rivian’s brand equity significantly rose in 2021 

Using data from QuestBrand, we see that Rivian’s brand equity significantly increased from Q1 to Q4 of 2021. Brand equity is the perceived value of a company based on its reputation with its audience, and is comprised of four parts: momentum, consideration, quality, and familiarity.  

All four components saw considerable lift over the course of 2021, despite the company’s low overall inventory that has prevented many hopeful Rivian owners from getting their hands on a T1R. 

Most notably, Rivian’s momentum jumped 18.9 points from Q1 to Q4 of 2021. This shows increased consumer confidence in the brand’s ability to hold market share in the EV market and to beat out its competitors.  

Rivian’s consideration score ticked up 13.7 points, signaling that more consumers would consider purchasing Rivian’s electric vehicles at the end of 2021 than at the start of the year.  

With consumer-enthusiasm for their innovative EVs secured, Rivian can focus efforts on increasing production. If Rivian continues to create functional and desirable EVs, we can expect their consideration and momentum scores to increase along with their inventory. They are currently in the process of adding a second production facility to help meet consumer demand.  


Catherine Ake

Senior Marketing and Content Strategist

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