Less than three months after Rivian and Mercedes decided to build vans under a JV deal, the deal is reportedly off.
Mercedes is the latest legacy automaker to call off a joint manufacturing deal with the Amazon-backed electric truck maker, following Ford and Lincoln, who severed their deals with Rivian after posting a $3.1 billion loss on a stock bet with the company.
“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,” says RJ Scaringe, Chief Executive Officer of Rivian. “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 maximize 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.”
For their part, the Mercedes people seem just as eager to play nice in public while scurrying back to their own factories. “Our collaboration with the Rivian team has been based on a common engineering passion and a strong spirit of partnership,” says Mathias Geisen, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. “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. 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.”
Mercedes is selling tens of thousands of its electric vans already, with more models on the way – including campers, work vans, minivans, etc., so our thinking is that the Benz team is going to be OK … but the Rivian team? One rejection is bad, two is a bit weird, but three? Someone might start to think that working with Rivian is a bad idea.
That’s just us, though. Scroll on down to the bottom of the page and let us know your take on this whole JV deal, in the comments.
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