Amazon Partners With Stellantis For Vans, Rivian Stock Plunges

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Bad news for Rivian? Amazon and car giant Stellantis sign partnership deal that will see Amazon utilise Stellantis electric vans

E-commerce and cloud giant Amazon and car group Stellantis have signed a partnership deal that could spell bad news for Amazon-backed electric vehicle (EV) maker Rivian.

The deal signed on Wednesday, sees Amazon and Stellantis collaborate to develop cars and trucks with Amazon software incorporated into vehicle infotainment systems and dashboards.

But the really worrying news for Rivian is that the deal means that Amazon will also be the first commercial customer of Stellantis’ Ram ProMaster EV slated for 2023. There is no word on how many Ram ProMaster EVs Amazon will use.

Rivian concern?

It should be remembered that Rivian had named Amazon its preferred cloud provider in December and has a contract to make 100,000 vehicles for Amazon by 2030.

Rivian's electric delivery van for Amazon. Image credit: Amazon
Rivian’s electric delivery van for Amazon. Image credit: Amazon

However news of the deal between Amazon and Stellantis prompted a fall of 11.2 percent in Rivian’s shares in Wednesday trading.

Rivian manufactures its vehicles in a former Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Illinois, and it has begun slowly to ship pickup trucks, with an SUV to follow.

However the EV startup has been plagued with slow production and shortages due to the pandemic and other factors – a fact acknowledged by founder R.J. Scaringe in a letter to customers in July last year.

For Stellantis the Amazon deal is important, as it should give it the needed expertise boost to incorporate Amazon’s technology such as software-powered infotainment features that are connected to the cloud, into its vehicles to pose a challenge to Tesla EVs.

“Stellantis and Amazon will collaborate to deploy Amazon’s technology and software expertise across Stellantis’ organisation, including vehicle development, building connected in-vehicle experiences, and training the next generation of automotive software engineers,” said the two firms.

“Together, the two companies will create a suite of software-based products and services that seamlessly integrate with customers’ digital lives and add value over time through regular over-the-air (OTA) software update,” they added.

Transportation deal

Stellantis is a car giant group formed by the merger of Fiat Chrysler and Groupe PSA. Its brands include Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Citroën, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Opel, Peugeot and Vauxhall.

“We’re excited to collaborate with Stellantis to transform the automotive industry and re-invent the in-vehicle experience,” said Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon.

“We are inventing solutions that will help enable Stellantis to accelerate connected and personalised in-vehicle experiences, so that every moment in motion can be smart, safe, and tailored to each occupant. Together, we will create the foundation for Stellantis to transform from a traditional automaker into a global leader in software-driven development and engineering,” he added.

“Working together with Amazon is an integral part of our capability building roadmap, based on both developing internal competencies and decisive collaborations with tech leaders, and it will bring significant expertise to one of our key technology platforms, STLA SmartCockpit,” said Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis.

“By leveraging artificial intelligence and cloud solutions, we will transform our vehicles into personalized living spaces and enhance the overall customer experience, making our vehicles the most wanted, most captivating place to be, even when not driving,” Tavares concluded.

Amazon and Stellantis said they will work together to develop software for the “digital cockpit” infotainment systems of Stellantis vehicles that will start launching in 2024.

Stellantis said it will use Amazon’s Alexa technology for voice controlled features, “navigation, vehicle maintenance, ecommerce marketplaces, and payment services.”

Last month Stellantis Carlos Tavares issued a blunt warning to governments around the world about the industry costs associated with the move to electric vehicles (EVs).

He said that external pressure on car makers to accelerate the shift to electric vehicles potentially threatens jobs and vehicle quality, as manufacturers struggle to manage the higher costs of building EVs.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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