Just three months after announcing a partnership with Mercedes to manufacture commercial electric vans in Europe, Rivian now says its pausing those plans to concentrate on its own business. "At this point in time, we believe focusing on our consumer business, as well as our existing commercial business, represent the most attractive near-term opportunities to maximize value for Rivian," it said in a press release.
The company said it will "no longer pursue the memorandum of understanding with Mercedes-Benz," but the parting appears to be amicable and potentially not permanent. "Exploring strategic opportunities with the team at Rivian in the future remains an option, as we share the same strategic ambition: accelerating the EV adoption with benchmark products for our customers," Mercedes-Benz's head of vans Mathias Geisen said in a statement. It added that Rivian's decision wouldn't change its commercial electrification strategy.
Rivian has seen some setbacks in the past year. Despite being one of the best of funded EV startups, the company announced last summer that it would lay off six percent of its workforce in an effort to cut costs. Earlier, it revealed that it would hike prices on vehicles already on pre-order, before backing off and applying the increases only to future orders. On the plus side, its R1S SUV and R1T pickup EVs have generally received good reviews.
Other EV startups have also run into problems this year due to inflation, higher interest rates and other issues. Arrival, for one, was forced to put its electric bus and car projects on hold due to struggles with cash. And Faraday Future delayed the launch of its first EV, the FF91, also over cash flow issues.