Rivian to Open Chicago Showroom in September

City Is Fifth of a Planned 10 Showrooms to Offer EV Pickups
Rivian hub in Venice, Calif.
Rivian bills its Spaces locations as more of a playground than a showroom. This is an image from its Venice, Calif., location. (Rivian)

[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]

Nearly two years after launching production of its electric pickup trucks and SUVs in Normal, Ill., Rivian is planning to open its first showroom in Chicago.

California-based Rivian has leased a 5,160-square-foot space on Rush Street called Spaces, where consumers and the EV-curious can kick the tires on the automaker’s inaugural R1T and R1S models.

Rivian’s Chicago showroom is set to launch in September, following a similar opening in New York City last month. Spaces showrooms are also set to open in Vancouver, B.C., next week and Seattle in August. The first Spaces showroom took flight in Venice Beach, Calif., in October 2021, one month after Rivian began production in a converted Mitsubishi plant about two hours south of Chicago.

“The launch of Rivian Spaces is a key part of our next phase of growth, introducing retail sites as a primary experiential touchpoint and bringing the brand to life through an in-store experience,” Tony Caravano, senior director of customer engagement at Rivian, said in a news release.

Chicago will be the fifth out of a planned 10 showrooms to open this year, according to Charlotte Catania, a Rivian spokesperson. The Chicago showroom will be open for “at least 18 months,” she said July 20.

The Chicago showroom will allow customers to test drive and reserve vehicles, which otherwise are purchased online. The base price of the R1T truck is $73,000, while the R1S SUV starts at $78,000, according to the Rivian website.

Rivian launched production in September 2021 and now has about 7,000 employees building electric pickup trucks, SUVs and Amazon delivery vans in a formerly vacant, 3.3 million-square-foot auto plant.

The new showroom rollout comes as production is beginning to gain traction, with Rivian building nearly 14,000 vehicles in the second quarter and on track to produce 50,000 EVs for the year.

Rivian has also delivered 5,000 Amazon electric delivery vans since the first one hit the road last summer. Amazon, an early investor in Rivian, has ordered 100,000 electric vans through 2030.

While Rivian is opening its first Chicago showroom, it already has a service center on the Near West Side. Illinois has two of 30 Rivian service centers nationwide, including one at the Normal factory.

Tesla, the EV market leader, has six suburban showrooms/service centers and one in Bloomington. It also has two Chicago showrooms.

In May 2019, Illinois auto dealers, the secretary of state and Tesla entered into an administrative consent order agreeing that Tesla could have no more than 13 dealer licenses in Illinois.

The Illinois Automobile Dealers Association, however, continues to challenge Rivian’s right to cut out the middleman and sell directly to consumers.

In December, a Cook County judge dismissed a 2021 lawsuit brought by the dealers against the secretary of state and EV manufacturers Rivian and Lucid, for allegedly violating Illinois vehicle franchise requirements. The court ruled the state was correct in issuing dealer licenses to Rivian and Lucid, as it had previously done with Tesla.

The auto dealers appealed that decision in January and filed their opening briefs last week. Rivian declined to comment July 19 on the pending legislation.

Want more news? Listen to today's daily briefing below or go here for more info:

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC