Rivian cuts more jobs as it looks to trim expenses

EV startup says it is reducing its workforce by about 1% in the second round of layoffs so far this year
A Rivian R1S sits outside the Rivian store at Ponce City Market in Atlanta on Oct. 19, 2023. J. Scott Trubey/scott.trubey@ajc.com

Credit: J. Scott Trubey

Credit: J. Scott Trubey

A Rivian R1S sits outside the Rivian store at Ponce City Market in Atlanta on Oct. 19, 2023. J. Scott Trubey/scott.trubey@ajc.com

Electric vehicle upstart Rivian, which recently put on pause plans to build a Georgia factory, said this week it is laying off more workers as it cuts costs to buttress its balance sheet.

California-based Rivian said it will cut about 1% of its workforce, the second announced round of layoffs for the EV maker this year. In February, Rivian said it would cut 10% of salaried staff as it forecasted production would be flat compared to 2023.

At the end of last year, Rivian said it had nearly 17,000 workers, meaning the most recent cuts would likely total fewer than 200. The company did not disclose the locations of jobs cut or severance information.

“We continue to work to right-size the business and ensure alignment to our priorities,” Rivian said in a statement. “As a follow-up to some of the changes we made to teams in February, today we shared some additional changes to groups supporting the business. Around 1 percent of our workforce was affected by this change. This was a difficult decision, but a necessary one to support our goal to be gross margin positive by the end of the year.”

The EV sector has faced slowing demand amid high interest rates aimed at taming inflation and some consumer reticence to switch from conventional gas-powered vehicles. EVs tend to cost more to purchase than comparable internal combustion-powered autos.

As a result, automakers have shuffled product launches, reduced prices for some EV models, delayed some investments and cut jobs.

Earlier this week, EV market leader Tesla announced it would lay off 10% of its workers, or about 14,000 people.

Last month, Rivian put on hold the start of vertical construction at its planned $5 billion factory an hour east of Atlanta. That factory, first announced in late 2021, had been where Rivian said it would launch assembly of its smaller and more affordable R2 crossover.

At an introductory event for the R2 last month, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe said assembly of the R2 will instead start at the company’s existing plant in Illinois. That shift will save the company $2.2 billion, Rivian said, and allow the company to bring R2 to market in 2026.

Scaringe has said he remains committed to the Georgia factory, which he described as a key part of Rivian’s future expansion plans. But the company has not announced a new start date for construction.

Cox Enterprises, which owns The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, also holds about a 3% stake in Rivian.