Electric truck maker Rivian Automotive Inc. is expected to lay off about 700 people in upcoming months, but it is unclear how many of those might be in Michigan.
The automaker is trimming its workforce in areas where it has grown too quickly, according to a report Monday by Bloomberg, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. The report said the cuts will be in nonmanufacturing jobs and include areas with duplicate functions.
The job cuts are still being planned, but could be announced in the coming weeks, the people told Bloomberg. Rivian, based in Irvine, California, has about 14,000 employees worldwide and the layoffs could amount to a 5% reduction in the workforce.
Rivian spokesperson Kenya Friend-Daniel declined to comment to the Free Press on the reported layoffs. She did not disclose how many people work at Rivian’s facility in Plymouth.
But last fall Crain’s Detroit Business reported Rivian had doubled its employee count in Plymouth in 2021 to more than 600. Besides its Michigan location, Rivian’s website said it has six locations in the U.S. that include California and Illinois. It has a facility in Woking, U.K. and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Its Plymouth location operates as “a vehicle development, prototyping and testing facility and administrative center” where the company does vehicle engineering, validation, procurement and supply chain teams, Rivian’s website said.
Rivian doubled its headcount 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 EV delivery vans by 2030.
Ford Motor Co. has a 12% stake in Rivian. Ford spokesman T.R. Reid declined to comment on Rivian’s reported plans.
In 2020, Rivian and Ford said they no longer planned to develop an EV together. The automakers initially announced development of a joint vehicle in 2019 when Ford invested $500 million in Rivian.
In November, Rivian had one of the biggest US initial public offerings in history giving it a market valuation of over $100 billion. That meant Wall Street valued it more than traditional titans such as General Motors and Ford. Rivian appeared to be the biggest challenger to EV market leader Tesla Inc.
But Rivian, like all automakers, has struggled to increase production at its plant in Normal, Illinois, because of supply-chain constraints and parts shortages.
Bloomberg reports that Tesla is also cutting 10% of its salaried workforce, but will protect manufacturing jobs, because CEO Elon Musk has said a recession is inevitable.
As of the end of March, Rivian had about $17 billion in cash and restricted cash to get it through an economic slump. Rivian has a contract with Amazon to build 100,000 battery-electric delivery vans by the end of the decade.