Rivian rockets past GM to become 2nd most valuable carmaker

FILE - This Nov. 14, 2018, file photo shows a Rivian R1T at Rivian headquarters in Plymouth, Mich. Shares in Rivian Automotive are set to trade publicly on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021, and the world should get a better idea of just how hot investors are for the electric vehicle market. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File) (Paul Sancya, Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

NEW YORK – Rivian Automotive, a company that has delivered about 150 electric pickup trucks mostly to employees, has surpassed General Motors to become the nation's second most valuable automaker.

The California company's market valuation exceeded Ford's in its first day a public company Wednesday. Its shares rose 10% at the opening bell Thursday pushing its valuation over $90 billion. That's greater than Detroit's GM, one of the biggest auto manufacturers in the world, which sold more than 2.5 million vehicles last year.

Rivian's goal this year is to produce 1,000 electric vehicles. The company rolled out its first vehicle, the R1T electric truck, in September and plans to launch its electric SUV, the R1S, in December.

Ford is one of Rivian’s high-profile backers, having invested a half-billion dollars into the company in 2019. The other is Amazon, which held a 20% stake in Rivian ahead of the initial public offering.

Rather than focusing on the number of cars it has sold, investors are anticipating vast potential for Rivian with the appetite growing for electric vehicles. And Rivian's soaring stock price pulled almost all companies in the EV sector higher Thursday.

Lordstown Motors Corp. jumped 11%, Nikola Corp. 3%, Fisker Inc. more than 8% and China's Nio Inc. rose 4%.

The exception Thursday is Tesla which has dominated the electric vehicle market for years, amassing a market value of more than $1 trillion along the way. So far this year, Tesla has sold around 627,300 vehicles.

After making a promise on Twitter, Tesla CEO Elon Musk sold about 4.5 million shares of the electric carmaker’s stock for more than $5 billion, according to regulatory filings late Wednesday.