Rivian To Axe 6 Percent Of Jobs Amid EV Price War

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

Another tranche of job losses for Rivian Automotive, after it says it is laying off 6 percent of its workforce

Electric vehicle (EV) start-up Rivian Automotive has added to the surge of job losses within the tech and EV sector.

Reuters reported that the EV maker is laying off 6 percent of its workforce in an effort to cut costs, as it confronts falling cash reserves and a weak economy, coupled with a looming industry price war.

A price war in the EV sector has been mooted after Tesla last month responded to slowing consumer demand for electric vehicles, by cutting prices in China, the US, UK and Europe.

Tesla itself has already gone through a number of job losses in 2022, which has triggered lawsuits.

Rivian's R1S electric SUV. Image credit: Rivian
Rivian’s R1S electric SUV. Image credit: Rivian

Rivian layoffs

Rivian is currently focusing its resources on ramping up vehicle production and reaching profitability, chief executive R.J. Scaringe reportedly said in an email to employees on Wednesday announcing the job cuts.

RJ Scaringe, CEO of Rivian and Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon

Reuters obtained a copy of the email.

Reuters noted that the Tesla and Ford EV price cuts are expected to hurt EV startup such as Rivian, Lucid Group and British startup Arrival, which Monday said it would lay off half its staff.

“We must focus our resources on ramp and our path to profitability,” Scaringe said in the email, in which he apologised to employees for the necessity of the cuts.

A Rivian spokesman confirmed to Reuters the email was sent, but declined further comment.

“They’re bleeding cash and would like to grow at a much faster rate, but they continue to struggle with their EV production ramp and have been unable to meaningfully drive down unit costs,” CFRA Research analyst Garrett Nelson was quoted as saying. “We think that is what’s behind this decision.”

Rivian is based in Irvine, California, and has about 14,000 employees.

According to Reuters it will let go of about 840 staff, in a move that will not affect manufacturing operations at its plant in Normal, Illinois.

It should be remembered that this is now the second round of layoffs.

Back in July 2022 Rivian had axed 5 to 6 percent of its workforce.

Teething troubles

Rivian listed in New York in November 2021 for $105 billion (£95bn), before having produced its first vehicle.

Since that time Rivian’s shares have fallen nearly 90 percent from their peak that month to Tuesday’s close, amidst production and supply chain problems that cause it to slash its annual production forecast from 50,000 to 25,000 in March.

Rivian’s stock was trading down 4 percent on Nasdaq on Wednesday.

Rivian is focusing on ramping up production of its R1 trucks and EDV delivery vans for top shareholder Amazon.com and launching its R2 platform, Scaringe said. “The changes we are announcing today reflect this focused roadmap.

Amazon Custom Electric Van – Rivian

Rivian, which has been losing money on every vehicle it builds, narrowly missed its full-year production target of 25,000 vehicles last year as it dealt with supply-chain disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.