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Feb 21, 2024

Rivian to cut 10% of salaried staff, citing economic uncertainty

If you build it, they will come, but it didn't happen for electric vehicles: Stein

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Rivian Automotive Inc. revealed plans to cut 10 per cent of its salaried workforce and set production plans well below Wall Street’s expectations as the maker of electric vehicles grapples with stagnant demand and economic turbulence.

The company will build 57,000 vehicles this year, roughly in line with its 2023 output, according to a statement Wednesday that also detailed fourth-quarter results. The forecast fell far short of analysts’ average estimate of more than 80,000 units in 2024.

Rivian also said it expects an adjusted loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of US$2.7 billion, guidance that was influenced by “economic and geopolitical uncertainties and pressures, most notably the impact of historically high interest rates.”

The outlook underscores the challenge of scaling production and stemming losses in an environment of waning consumer demand for battery-powered vehicles. The automaker had aimed to challenge EV market leader Tesla Inc. following Rivian’s blockbuster stock listing in 2021, but it has since dealt with supply-chain woes and other challenges.

“We firmly believe in the full electrification of the automotive industry, but recognize in the short-term, the challenging macro-economic conditions,” Chief Executive Officer RJ Scaringe said in the statement.

The layoffs, part of an aggressive cost-cutting effort, follow job reductions last year and in 2022.

The Irvine, California-based company builds two consumer EVs and a battery-electric delivery van at a sole plant in Normal, Illinois. There’s a second factory in the works near Atlanta, where Rivian plans to build its first mass-market, lower-priced EV starting in 2026.