Cox Automotive takes $350M stake in electric vehicle startup Rivian

Atlanta-based Cox Automotive said Tuesday it will invest $350 million into electric vehicle startup Rivian.

Rivian is the maker of what it calls “electric adventure vehicles,” including the R1T pickup and R1S SUV. As part of the investment, Cox will take an equity stake in Rivian and the two companies said they will explore possibilities for partnerships in online retailing, logistics and vehicle service.

The vehicles, which are slated to begin production in the second half of 2020, are built on a streamlined platform called a “skateboard” that includes the battery pack and other key components. Rivian promises its luxury off-road vehicles will deliver up to 400 miles in range per charge and high-performance capabilities.

“We are building a Rivian ownership experience that matches the care and consideration that go into our vehicles,” R.J. Scaringe, founder and CEO of Rivian, said in a news release. “Cox Automotive’s global footprint, service and logistics capabilities, and retail technology platform make them a great partner for us.”

Cox Automotive, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises, operates vehicle sales and services brands across the globe, including AutoTrader, Kelley Blue Book and Manheim. Cox’s media properties also include The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

This is Cox’s first-ever stake in a vehicle manufacturer and the company will appoint a member to Rivian’s board. Cox declined to disclose how much of Rivian it will own.

The Cox Automotive investment follows a $700 million investment this year in Rivian led by Amazon and a $500 million equity stake from Ford Motor Co., according to the release. Rivian will remain an independent company.

“We are excited by Rivian’s unique approach to building an electrified future and to be part of the positive impact its products will bring to our roads and the world around us,” said Sandy Schwartz, president of Cox Automotive.

Rivian operates development centers in Michigan, California and in England and has a manufacturing facility in Illinois.

“With the electrification of vehicles set to play a significant role in the new mobility future, this partnership opens another channel of discovery and learning for Cox Automotive,” Joe George, president of Cox Automotive Mobility Group, said in the release. “Advancements in battery technology and the electrification of fleets are two of our primary focus areas, and we believe this relationship will prove to be mutually beneficial.”

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