Earlier this year, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe announced that his company would build electric vehicles for Ford Motor Company under the Lincoln brand, using its own “skateboard” platform that will underpin the R1T pickup and R1S SUV. Now, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to take its toll on both companies’ production efforts, both decided to call off the plans for a new Rivian-built Lincoln EV — at least for now.
For its part, Rivian has pushed back production of its own vehicles into 2021. While we originally expected to see the Plymouth, Michigan-based startup’s first crack at the EV market in late 2020, it had to push back its goals due to recent circumstances, as companies and governments alike keep workers away from assembly plants in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. Despite the changes, Ford said that its “strategic commitment to Lincoln, Rivian and electrification remains unchanged”.
Ford invested $500 million in Rivian to date. As it faces its own economic storm from coronavirus, the Blue Oval reported Tuesday that its own net income was down $2 billion in the first quarter of 2020. What’s more, it withdrew its earlier guidance for 2020, and stopped paying dividends to shareholders.
Beyond this sheer cancellation, several automakers are sliding on their timeframes for product launches, in many cases into 2021. While Rivian’s launch still remains fairly certain, other EV startups may struggle to bring their cars to market anytime soon. Launches including the Lucid Air and Byton M-Byte are now at greater risk, Electrek reports.