Rivian Confirms It Will Cut 6 Percent Of Staff

Rivian's R1S electric SUV. Image credit: Rivian

Axe is to fall on 600 jobs at the electric truck maker Rivian, as it restructures to “optimise costs” in worsening economy

Bad news for hundreds of staff at electric vehicle start-up Rivian Automotive, after the CEO confirms that 6 percent of the workforce will be let go.

The confirmation came in an email from CEO R.J. Scaringe to staff on Wednesday, Reuters reported. Rivian had over 10,000 employees globally, as of the end of 2021 and $16 billion in cash at the end of the first quarter.

The redundancies are not unexpected however. Rivian earlier this month said it would brief its staff about restructuring and potential layoffs, as it planned to suspend some programs as part of a broader restructuring.

Rivian's R1T electric pickup truck. Image credit: Rivian
Rivian’s R1T electric pickup truck. Image credit: Rivian

Headcount reduction

In May this year Rivian had insisted it had enough cash on hand to ramp up production to the point of profitability, amidst increasing pressure from shareholders and customers.

Customers have taken the company to task after it increased prices across the board, in an effort to offset rising costs, causing Rivian to backtrack and raise prices only for new orders.

Most recently the company faced controversy over changes to its delivery model, made in late April, which saw it prioritise vehicles with specific interior and exterior wheel and colour options.

That caused some buyers to receive vehicles sooner than others who had placed orders years earlier.

Rivian has also cut production plans and delayed vehicles as it struggles, like most car makers, with shortages of supplies such as microchips and the raw materials to manufacture batteries.

Now according to Reuters, CEO R.J. Scaringe said the decision to reduce its workforce was in order to optimise costs in a tightening macroeconomic environment.

It seems that staff in the manufacturing operations team at Normal, Illinois, will not be affected.

The company, Scaringe wrote in the email, is financially well positioned, “but to fully realise our potential, our strategy must support our sustainable growth as we ramp towards profitability.”

Amazon vans

Last week Amazon reveal it would finally begin to reap the benefits from its investments in Rivian, and would begin using its custom electric vans for deliveries in the United States.

Amazon Custom Electric Van – Rivian

Amazon announced that by the end of the year, there will be “thousands” of Amazon-branded Rivian electric vans making deliveries to more than 100 cities.

The plan is to eventually have 100,000 electric vans in operation by the end of 2030.

Amazon said the electric vehicles will hit the road in Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, Nashville, Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle, and St. Louis, among other cities, before expanding across the US.

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

The development will secure a healthy order book for Rivian, and comes after the Amazon tie up looked shaky after Amazon signed a partnership deal with car group Stellantis earlier this year for its Stellantis’ Ram ProMaster EV – slated for 2023.

These Ram EVs however will be operated by Amazon alongside the Rivian vans.