Rivian, which quickly made a name for itself with the all-electric R1S SUV and R1T pickup, and just as quickly made headlines with major funding from the likes of Ford and Amazon, had seemed to have found a nice home in the Midwest. It established its headquarters in Plymouth, Michigan, and bought a former Mitsubishi factory in Normal, Illinois. According to an Autoline report, Rivian will move "most of its operations out of Michigan" to a new facility in Irvine, California.
Rivian currently lists Plymouth as its home to vehicle design and engineering, while Irvine houses its battery systems, vehicle dynamics and customer experience operations. According to the report, current projects in Michigan will continue, but any new programs will take place in the Golden State, in order to consolidate the company’s tech resources in a single location. Autoline also said employees were "hopping mad" about the move, citing an unnamed source.
When asked for comment, a Rivian spokesperson told Autoblog the following:
Of Rivian’s 2,300 employees, approximately 1,000 are based in California and 750 in Michigan, and we are consolidating some engineering teams to our locations in California to improve workflows and reduce environmental impact from travel. 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.
It has been exciting having such a quickly ascending EV startup located so close to the Motor City. Rivian had been working closely with its neighbor, legacy automaker Ford, to create electric vehicles for the Lincoln luxury brand. More recently, Lincoln canceled plans to build an EV on Rivian’s platform, but the ties between Rivian and Ford remain close. Earlier this year, Alexandra Ford English, Ford's director of corporate strategy, joined Rivian's board of directors. Last month, Rivian laid off a number of workers in Michigan, but brought aboard Tesla veterans, and recently poached a rising star in GM engineering, Alex Archer.
Though it appears that Rivian is, indeed, moving some jobs from Michigan to California, we're glad to see that Metro Detroit will "remain an important presence" for Rivian.