Since 2015, the lion’s share of electric automaker Rivian has existed in Plymouth, Michigan, a suburb just outside Detroit. Over the past five years, the company gained backing to such an extent that it’s been able to open several facilities in California; Vancouver, Canada and the United Kingdom, not to mention its Normal, Illinois manufacturing operation. Now, according to a recent Autoline piece, the company will “move most of its operations” out of Michigan to Irvine, California.
Out of the fledgling automaker’s 2,300-strong workforce, about 1,000 work in California. Another 750 work in Plymouth, Michigan, but will reportedly move some of its engineering teams to the Golden State. The company made a further comment to Autoblog, saying:
“We’ve recently completed an expansion at our Michigan location and it will remain an important presence for us. We are also committed to creating a vibrant and inviting manufacturing presence in Normal, Illinois, where all Rivian vehicles will be produced. As we grow, we’ll keep evaluating and evolving our footprint and geography.”
A looming threat to the Big Three and Tesla?
Really, Rivian blew up in popularity after officially debuting its two breakout models, the R1T pickup and R1S SUV, at the 2018 Los Angeles International Auto Show. Since then, it’s developed closer ties with Ford, though a former plan to build a Lincoln model on Rivian’s platform was axed. The company is also working on an electric van for Amazon.
As for the California move, it’s unclear what long-term effect Rivian will endure in consolidating its workforce. We may see its models arrive more quickly, and CEO RJ Scaringe may be angling for a more aggressive approach, as the competition for a viable, mass consumer electric truck heats up.