Upstart EV automaker Rivian got off to a hot start thanks to massive investments from both Ford and Amazon, followed by one of the largest IPO filings in U.S. history. However, the company nixed plans to collaborate with FoMoCo on a future all-electric Lincoln model back in 2020, as well as a Ford EV last year. Since then, Rivian has struggled to produce enough vehicles to meet demand and laid off a handful of employees recently, though it reportedly remains on track to meet its production goals for 2022. Ford sold a large quantity of its shares in the company this past spring, but retains a sizable stake in Rivian, which just announced that it would be collaborating with Mercedes-Benz to build all-electric vans in Europe back in September. Now, however, the two automakers have apparently nixed those plans, according to Automotive News Europe.
Rivian and Mercedes signed a memorandum of understanding for a strategic partnership just a couple of months ago with intentions of establishing a new joint venture manufacturing company with the purpose of investing in and operating a factory in Europe to produce large electric vans for both Mercedes‑Benz Vans and Rivian starting in a few years. The two companies were also aiming to build a new EV-only facility leveraging an existing Mercedes‑Benz site in Central/Eastern Europe, where two new vans would be produced – one based on the VAN.EA platform (Mercedes-Benz Vans Electric Architecture), and the other built on the second-generation Rivian Light Van (RLV) platform.
Now, those moves are on indefinite hold as Rivian refocuses on its business in the U.S., as well as its “ongoing reprioritization of projects,” according to the company. That includes both production of the R1T and R1S for retail consumers, as well as its EV van, which is currently in operation delivering Amazon packages in certain parts of the country. Amazon previously placed an order for 100,000 units of the van, while Rivian also faces a large backlog of customer orders for its pickup and SUV, too.
“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 maximize value for Rivian,” CEO RJ Scaringe said in a statement.