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    Irvine-based Rivian cutting more jobs with woes mounting for EV market
    • May 2, 2024

    By Ed Ludlow and Isis Almeida | Bloomberg

    Irvine-based Rivian Automotive will cut an another 1% of its workforce, the second round of layoffs this year as the electric vehicle industry grapples with flagging consumer demand.

    “We continue to work to right-size the business and ensure alignment to our priorities,” the company said in an emailed statement. “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 move comes about two months after Rivian slashed 10% of its salaried staff as high interest rates and economic headwinds compounded the company’s ongoing challenges with scaling production. The prior round of cuts focused on product teams and those working on its commercial EV business, while the latest move will mostly affect support and back-office workers.

    Also see: Rivian beats EV production estimates with shipments rebounding

    Rivian had 16,790 workers as of Dec. 31, suggesting the latest cuts could amount to 150 or more jobs.

    The company also said Thursday that it will receive incentives valued at $827 million from Illinois to expand its electric-vehicle plant in the state after the company halted work on a separate facility in Georgia.

    The 30-year package is mostly tax benefits under the Reimagining Energy and Vehicles in Illinois program, according to a statement Thursday from the governor’s office. Rivian is set to receive $75 million in capital funding under a separate state initiative. The automaker also announced the state package in a separate release.

    The incentives underscore the financial benefits for the manufacturer in building out an existing production site rather than building a new one. Rivian said in March that it would save $2.25 billion by pausing the Georgia factory and shifting planned production of its forthcoming lower-cost R2 vehicle to Illinois.

    The company is looking to fortify its finances in the face of waning consumer demand, rising competition and production challenges.

    Rivian plans to invest $1.5 billion to expand capacity at its plant in Normal, Illinois, to 215,000 units annually from 150,000. The project is expected to create more than 550 jobs over the next five years, according to the statement.

    The decision represents another win for J.B. Pritzker after the billionaire governor lured a Gotion High-tech Co.’s $2 billion gigafactory to Illinois. The state, which recently renewed a $400 million fund to draw companies, is trying to position itself as a hub for new technologies from quantum computing to life sciences and EV manufacturing.

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    Illinois said it will also fund a new manufacturing training academy co-located at the new facility in Normal, which will offer an apprenticeship program for high schools.

    Rivian’s focus on the existing plant is not without challenges. Expansion will take time as it builds new assembly lines, and labor availability is a significant consideration. The company, which makes a pair of consumer models and an electric delivery van, employs about 8,000 people at the site.

    ​ Orange County Register