Rivian lays off 6% of workforce, including 50 jobs at electric vehicle plant in Normal

Startup electric truck maker Rivian has laid off 6% of its total workforce, or about 840 non-manufacturing employees, including about 50 at its downstate Normal assembly plant.

California-based Rivian had about 6,000 employees at its single assembly plant in Normal and about 14,000 companywide, before rolling out the restructuring plan on Wednesday. The layoffs did not affect manufacturing operations, the company said.

Citing challenges in obtaining additional funding in the current economic environment, Rivian CEO and founder RJ Scaringe notified employees of the job cuts in a company-wide letter on Wednesday.

“Over the last six months, the world has changed dramatically with inflation reaching record levels, interest rates rising rapidly and commodity prices continuing to rise, all of which have contributed to a tightening of global capital markets,” Scaringer said. “We need to be able to continue to grow and scale without additional financing in this macro environment.”

The company had $17 billion in cash at the end of the first quarter and remains “financially well positioned” but needs to restructure to support “sustainable growth,” Scaringe said.

The employees who were laid off were notified Wednesday and will receive a severance package that includes 14 weeks of regular pay and health coverage, Rivian-paid COBRA benefits and job placement assistance, Scaringe said in his letter, which was obtained by the Tribune. .

Rivian launched production in September at a converted Mitsubishi factory and has struggled with a slower-than-expected ramp-up, due in part to a global shortage of semiconductors. The company has more than 90,000 consumer orders for its R1T truck and R1S SUV. Amazon, an early investor in Rivian, has ordered 100,000 commercial electric delivery vans.

Last week, the first of Amazon’s EDV hit the road in chicago and a dozen other cities, but Rivian is behind on delivery.

The company has built around 8,000 EVs, or electric vehicles, during the second quarter, with a lowered target of 25,000 vehicles this year. The Normal plant has an annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles and ramping up production remains Rivian’s priority over the next 18 months, Scaringe said in the letter.

While Rivian is cutting its non-manufacturing workforce, it still plans to hire an additional 1,500 workers and add a second shift at the Normal plant this year, a company spokesman said Friday.

The company is also building a second $5 billion assembly plant in Georgia, which is slated to produce Rivian’s next-generation EV platform.

When Rivian went public in November, investors were betting the electric vehicle startup would become the Tesla of trucks, pushing its valuation above $100 billion. But the shares, which peaked at $179.47 in mid-November, have fallen sharply this year amid the slow acceleration, closing at $34.30 a share on Friday and cutting Rivian’s market capitalization to about 30,000 million dollars.

Rivian plans to report its second-quarter earnings on August 11.


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