Rivian To Brief Staff About Restructuring, Potential Layoffs

Rivian's R1S electric SUV. Image credit: Rivian

More bad news for jobs? Staff at Rivian are to be briefed this week about restructuring and potential layoffs at the electric truck maker

Electric vehicle start-up Rivian Automotive is to brief its staff on Friday about restructuring and potential layoffs.

It comes as the firm plans to suspend some programs as part of a broader restructuring, CEO R.J. Scaringe said in an email sent to staff on Monday evening, Reuters reported.

It is fair to say the venture has struggled this year to ramp up production, whilst contending with a significant share price drop of more than two-thirds since early January, after Rivian slashed its 2022 production target.

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

Troubled times

Rivian however sought to reassure investors and the markets in May, when it said it had enough cash on hand to achieve profitability.

The company has the distinction of delivering the first electric pickup trucks to the US market, but it now faces competition from Ford, which has begun delivering its first F-150 Lightning electric pickups.

Ford was an initial backer of Rivian, but the two companies have since scaled back plans to work together.

Customers however 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 has seen it prioritise vehicles with specific interior and exterior wheel and colour options.

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

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

Job losses

In Scaringe’s email to company staff, which was shared by Rivian with Reuters, Scaringe said the company is “financially well positioned,” but that it has begun “prioritising certain programs (and) stopping some.”

Rivian has also reportedly halted some non-manufacturing hiring, while “adopting major cost-down efforts” to reduce expenses, he said.

Scaringe said the company has begun to “assess the size and structure of our teams” and will be “as thoughtful as possible as we consider any reductions” in employee head count.

In his employee email on Monday, Scaringe reiterated that the company’s priorities include ramping up production of the R1 electric truck and SUV, as well as the EDV electric delivery van it is building for investor and strategic partner Amazon.

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

Rivian also remains focused on developing the smaller R2 series that it plans to build at the new Georgia plant, Scaringe said.

Regarding the ongoing restructuring and possible layoffs, he was quoted by Reuters as saying, “Rivian is not immune to the current economic circumstances and we need to make sure we can grow sustainably.”