Electric truck maker Rivian Automotive Inc. is expected to lay off about 700 people in the coming months, but it’s unclear how many of those may be in Michigan.
The automaker is downsizing in areas where it has grown too quickly, according to a Monday report by Bloomberg, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. The report says the cuts will affect non-manufacturing jobs and include areas with duplicate functions.
The job cuts are still planned, but could be announced in the coming weeks, the people told Bloomberg. Rivian, based in Irvine, Calif., has around 14,000 employees worldwide and the layoffs could represent a 5% reduction in the workforce.
Rivian’s spokesman, Kenya Friend-Daniel, declined to comment to the Free Press on the reported layoffs. She did not reveal how many people work at Rivian’s facilities in Plymouth.
But last fall Crain’s company in Detroit reported Rivian had doubled its number of employees in Plymouth in 2021 to more than 600. Besides its location in Michigan, Rivian’s website said it has six locations in the United States, including California and Illinois. It has a facility in Woking, UK and Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Its Plymouth site operates as “a vehicle development, prototyping and testing facility and administrative center” where the company manages the vehicle engineering, validation, procurement and supply chain teams, has Rivian’s website said.
Rivian has doubled its workforce over the past year to support a ramp-up in production of its electric pickup the R1T, which starts at $67,500 and its SUV the R1S, which starts at $72,500. Rivian, which is backed by Amazon, also makes delivery vans and has a contract with Amazon to build 100,000 electric delivery vans by 2030.
Ford Motor Co. owns a 12% stake in Rivian. Ford spokesman TR Reid declined to comment on Rivian’s announced plans.
In November, Rivian completed one of the largest U.S. initial public offerings in history, earning it a market valuation of over $100 billion. That meant Wall Street liked it more than traditional titans like General Motors and Ford. Rivian appeared to be the biggest challenger to electric vehicle market leader Tesla Inc.
But Rivian, like all automakers, has struggled to ramp up production at its Normal, Ill., plant due to supply chain constraints and parts shortages.
Bloomberg reports that Tesla is also cutting 10% of its salaried workforce, but will protect manufacturing jobs as CEO Elon Musk says a recession is inevitable.
At the end of March, Rivian had approximately $17 billion in cash and tight liquidity to weather an economic crisis. Rivian has a contract with Amazon to build 100,000 battery-electric delivery vans by the end of the decade.