Rivian Plans Hundreds of Job Cuts Following Surge in Staffing

Workers assemble components of a Rivian R1T electric vehicle pickup truck at the company's manufacturing facility in Normal, Ill. (Jamie Kelter Davis/Bloomberg News)

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Rivian Automotive Inc. is planning hundreds of layoffs to trim its workforce in areas where the electric vehicle maker has grown too quickly, according to people familiar with the matter.

The cuts will focus on nonmanufacturing roles, including teams with duplicate functions, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. The actions could be announced in the coming weeks, the people said.

The company, which has more than 14,000 employees, could target an overall reduction of around 5%, the people said. The layoffs are still in the planning stage and nothing has been decided. Rivian has operations in California, Michigan and Illinois, where its plant operates, as well as a presence in the U.K. and Canada.

“We will always be focused on growth, however, Rivian is not immune to the current economic circumstances and we need to make sure we can grow sustainably,” CEO RJ Scaringe said in an internal memo seen by Bloomberg. “We are working to be as thoughtful as possible as we consider any reductions.”

Scaringe in his note referred to “news reports” about restructuring at the company, saying, “This is not how we intended for you to hear about this.”

Scaringe will speak at a company all-hands meeting July 15, where he will elaborate on the plans, he said in the memo. In his note to employees, Scaringe said that the company has halted certain nonmanufacturing hires and overall expects the team to grow as production accelerates.

The company is pulling back after roughly doubling its head count over the past year to support a ramp-up in production. Rivian, which makes electric pickups and SUVs in addition to delivery vans, notched one of the biggest-ever U.S. initial public offerings in November as it emerged as a leading challenger to market leader Tesla Inc.

Rivian has stumbled as it grappled with global supply chain breakdowns and parts shortages. Automakers now face broader hurdles as vehicle sales, including those of EVs, soften with consumers put off by high sticker prices.

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Rivian’s shares tumbled about 69% this year through the July 8 close.

The Irvine, Calif.-based manufacturer is poised to join companies across corporate America pruning their operations amid growing worries about an economic downturn. Tesla is cutting 10% of its salaried workforce, while protecting manufacturing jobs, after CEO Elon Musk said he sees a recession as inevitable.

As of the end of March, Rivian had almost $17 billion in cash and restricted cash on its balance sheet to help weather the storm. The fledgling EV maker is backed by investors including Amazon.com Inc. and Ford Motor Co. Rivian has a contract with Amazon to build 100,000 battery-electric delivery vans by the end of the decade.

With assistance from Mark Bergen and Siddharth Philip.

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