Apple buying Rivian? Nissan with Fisker? Tesla rivals’ woes spark speculation as EV growth slows

Tesla rivals Rivian, Lucid, and Fisker were riding high a few years ago. Amid surging investor interest, the electric-vehicle makers commanded hefty market caps and spoke of bright futures.

Things look far less promising today. The EV sector faces a growth slowdown, and even market leader Tesla has warned of challenging months ahead. For its less-established rivals, “challenging” doesn’t quite cover it.

Last month, Rivian announced a disappointing quarter and outlook and said it would cut its salaried workforce by roughly 10%. Its market cap has plunged to $11 billion from a 2021 peak of $153 billion.

Gene Munster, managing partner of Deepwater Asset Management, addressed the idea this week of Apple—which recently canned its own EV project—buying Rivian, noting the low valuation. Apple “needs to break into some new market,” he told CNBC. “They need to do something big, and potentially Rivian would be just the answer to that.”

Of course, that would be an unusual move for Apple. Its most expensive acquisition to date was $3 billion for headphone maker Beats Electronics in 2014. Amazon, which buys delivery vans from Rivian, is the EV maker’s largest shareholder, with about 16% of its hard-hit shares.

Last month, Musk said of Rivian, “They need to cut costs massively, and the exec team needs to live in the factory or they will die.” He suggested the company had about six quarters before going bankrupt.

A ‘general EV slump’

Lucid, meanwhile, has seen its market cap plummet from a peak of $91.4 billion in 2001 to a $7.6 billion today. Last month, it said it would build only about 9,000 EVs this year—far below the 90,000 it predicted for 2024 three years ago. Its struggles led to speculation last year that Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, which holds about 60% of the EV maker, would acquire the rest of it. That didn’t happen.

As for Fisker, its market cap stands at $258 million, down from $4.1 billion in 2021. Last month, it received a notice from the New York Stock Exchange for noncompliance as its stock closed at under $1 on average for 30 trading days consecutively. And the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating claims of “unintended vehicle movement” in Fisker’s Ocean SUV, which recently received a much-watched poor review from influential YouTuber Marques Brownlee (aka MKBHD).

Reuters, citing unnamed sources, reported this week that the Fisker is in advanced talks with Nissan about a partnership—and a financial lifeline. Under the deal, the Japanese automaker would invest $400 million in Fisker’s truck platform and build its planned Alaska pickup starting in 2026.

“I believe that we have a future—otherwise I wouldn’t be here,” Fisker CEO Henrik Fisker told Yahoo Finance this week, declining to address the Nissan matter head-on. “And I believe we’re gonna manage to get out of this, I would say, general EV slump that there is out there.”

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