Rivian and Mercedes-Benz Vans JV put on hold


aria-label="Amazon Rivian van 1"

Joint-venture negotiations between Rivian and Mercedes-Benz Vans stop as American start-up refocuses on ramping up its consumer EV business.

American EV start-up Rivian has paused joint-venture negotiations with Mercedes-Benz Vans to prioritise its existing areas of business.

The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding in September to establish a new company to manufacture three new electric vans in Europe.

These would have been two new vehicles based on Mercedes-Benz Vans’ upcoming VAN.EA platform as well as Rivian’s second-generation Light Van platform.

The former is due to arrive on the market from 2025 and is unaffected by the joint-venture talks coming to an end.

Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe said in a statement: “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.

“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.”

aria-label="Amazon Rivian van 2"

The deal would have established Rivian’s first venture outside the US and marked an expansion of its commercial vehicle business.

It currently builds the Electric Delivery Van 700 (and has a shorter 500 variant in the works), for which retail giant Amazon holds a standing order of 100,000 units.

Mercedes-Benz Vans boss Mathias Geisen added that “exploring strategic opportunities with the team at Rivian in the future remains an option”.

The German firm will continue with plans to expand its factory in Jawor, Poland, to dedicate it to VAN.EA-based products. Mercedes-Benz Cars has been producing combustion engines at Jawor since 2019 and batteries since 2021.

The news comes after Rivian recorded a $1.72 billion (AUD$2.55bn) loss during the third quarter of 2022.

The company said in an accompanying letter issued to shareholders that its priority remains ramping up production at its factory in Normal, Illinois, where it builds the R1T pick-up truck and R1S seven-seat SUV.

Rivian reaffirmed its 2022 production guidance of 25,000 units but noted that supply-chain constraints “will continue to be the limiting factor of [its] production”.

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