Commercial Vehicle News

Rivian pauses plans to produce electric vans with Mercedes-Benz

Rivian has put plans to produce electric vans with Mercedes-Benz on hold as it prioritises its existing business.

As reported by the Financial Times, Rivian has stepped back from its partnership with Mercedes, as it looks to preserve cash reserves by focusing on existing production in North America in deteriorating economic conditions.

Rivian founder RJ Scaringe said: “We’ve decided to pause discussions with Mercedes-Benz Vans regarding the Memorandum of Understanding we signed earlier this year for joint production of electric vans in Europe. As we evaluate growth opportunities, we pursue the best risk-adjusted returns on our capital investments.

“At this point in time we believe focusing on our consumer business, as well as our existing commercial business, represent the most attractive near-term opportunities to maximise value for Rivian.”

Mercedes-Benz and Rivian signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in September for the production of bespoke large electric vans, with the aim of building an all-new electric-only production facility leveraging an existing Mercedes-Benz site in Central/Eastern Europe.

Mathias Geisen, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, said: “Our collaboration with the Rivian team has been based on a common engineering passion and a strong spirit of partnership. That’s why I respect and understand the decision of Rivian to prioritize the delivery of their consumer business and existing commercial business in the near-term.”

The move was set to be Rivian’s first international expansion, but the start-up has halted the partnership after a challenging third quarter in which the brand confirmed it was halving its expected output for this year.

Rivian will instead focus on its existing portfolio, which consists of the R1T truck and R1S SUV, as well as its commercial van for Amazon.

However, Scaringe did not rule out working with Mercedes-Benz again in the future: “We share the same goal as Mercedes-Benz Vans, to help the world transition to electric vehicles, and we look forward to exploring opportunities with them at a more appropriate time for Rivian.”

Geisen added: “While the timeline for our common European production joint venture is now on hold, the pace of our own electrification strategy at Mercedes-Benz Vans remains unchanged. The ramp-up plan for our new EV manufacturing site in Jawor, Poland is not affected.

“We will continue with full speed and determination to scale up electric vehicle production in our first dedicated electric van plant – designed for maximum flexibility and productivity. Exploring strategic opportunities with the team at Rivian in the future remains an option, as we share the same strategic ambition: accelerating the EV adoption with benchmark products for our customers.”

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