Rivian has a huge bet on a new EV designed to steal buyers away from Tesla

Ahead of a new vehicle reveal on March 7, EV manufacturer Rivian  (RIVN)  reported disappointing news during its fourth-quarter earnings on the evening of Feb. 21, as the company forecasted low 2024 production numbers and announced that it is cutting an additional 10% of its salaried workforce. 

Related: Analysts revamp Rivian stock price targets after earnings

A Rivian R1T electric vehicle (EV) pickup truck is seen at the company's showroom in New York City.

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Despite this, Rivian executives are more than excited to talk about their new car — the R2 of which they have extraordinary high hopes for. During the earnings call, Rivian Founder and CEO RJ Scaringe said that the new car is targeted for a market with a lot of demand — namely smaller cars like Tesla's  (TSLA)  Model Y. 

"R2 represents the essence of our brand while targeting the significant mid-sized SUV segment, a massive market with limited compelling EV options beyond Tesla," Scaringe said during the call. 

The CEO talked at length about what the car "embodies" as a part of the company's offerings — emphasizing that the R2 is a reflection of the brand's stellar reputation among its owners and the general EV landscape that it built with its larger siblings — the R1T pickup and R1S SUV.

"I think what has us so excited about R2 is, if you look at the success of R1 in terms of how the markets responded to the brand and to the product, it's the top-selling EV with a price point of over $70,000," Scaringe said. "And our hope, of course, is to translate the brand strength that we've demonstrated for Rivian with R1 into the R2 product and into a much lower-price segment which has a very large addressable market."

RJ Scaringe, chief executive officer and founder of Rivian Automotive Inc., is seen on the pilot production line at the company's headquarters in Irvine, Calif.

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Towards the end of the call, the CEO emphasized the importance of the R2 as being a major driver of growth and profitability for the company — as its new, smaller car builds off of the company's past expertise with the R1 series of EVs. 

"We're incredibly excited about the strength of customer excitement for our brand and for what we're building as a company," Scaringe said. "And with that, looking forward to continue to make progress on our drive towards profitability as a business. And an important component of that is, of course, the unveiling and showing of our R2 product line, which we'll be showing on March 7th."

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Rivian has a lot riding on the R2, especially given the circumstances it is facing ahead of the new car's March 7 reveal event. 

In a 33 second teaser clip shared by Rivian on Feb. 15, the company seems to aim the R2 as the brand's 'people's car' — inviting a wide range of people from all walks to enjoy what it calls 'adventure.' 

For about five seconds starting at 23 seconds into the video, we get a sneak view into the R2's front fascia, which shares a key characteristic of other Rivians — namely, the Tic Tac-shaped headlights of the bigger R1T and R1S.

On a post on the r/Rivian subreddit, a Reddit user by the name of u/New-Enthusiasm-9120 claimed to have taken a photo of what they believe is an R2 prior to its March 7 reveal.

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Rivian says that additional details about the R2, including reservation information and pricing will be revealed during the R2 Reveal livestream on March 7. 

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