SAN FRANCISCO - Electric-vehicle maker Rivian Automotive on Monday reported third-quarter deliveries above analysts' estimates, as it ramped up production to meet a sustained demand for its pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles (SUVs).

The Irvine, California-based startup said it was on track to produce 52,000 vehicles in 2023 - a target it raised in August from 50,000 vehicles as supply-chain bottlenecks eased.

The stronger-than-expected numbers from Rivian come amid concerns of softening demand for electric vehicles in the U.S. due to higher borrowing costs, which has prompted price cuts and discounts by rivals including Tesla.

Rivian, which makes R1T pickup trucks and R1S SUVs, delivered 15,564 vehicles in the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with Visible Alpha estimates of 14,740 vehicles and up 23% from the second quarter.

It produced 16,304 vehicles at its facility in Normal, Illinois, up from 13,992 in the second quarter. That means Rivian has to make just more than 12,300 vehicles in the current quarter to hit its full-year target.

Price cuts by Tesla to boost demand and responses from competitors have pushed average EV retail prices down to $53,376 in July 2023, from a high of nearly $70,000 a year ago, according to Cox Automotive.

Rivian has stayed away from cutting prices. Instead, it has been cutting cost and moved to building in-house Enduro powertrains to reduce its dependency on suppliers.

Despite a slowdown, there are positive signs of growth in the U.S. EV industry, which has become one of the fastest-growing EV markets, according to market research firm Canalys Research.

(Reporting by Abhirup Roy in San Francisco and Zaheer Kachwala in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)