Ford and Rivian announced today that they have mutually ended their agreement to work together on developing electric vehicles.
“Effective March 22, Ford and Rivian will go their separate ways for the time being,” the companies said in a joint statement, adding that the companies’ collaboration has had “a positive impact” on the auto industry.
In June 2018, Ford and Rivian signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop and produce up to 50,000 vehicles annually by 2022, based on the Ford Ranger, with an estimated price tag of up to $25,000. Ford had made the deal to invest $700 million and create up to 1,600 jobs in Rivian’s Livonia, Mich., assembly plant to assemble the crossover truck. Rivian said it would initially hire about 200 workers, with the potential to add as many as 1,400 at a later date.
However, Rivian CEO Guenther Taur is now saying that the two companies have decided not to continue together: “Having been through the development process with the Ford team, it became clear that the platforms and process were not up to their high standards,” he said in a statement. Taur added that by end of day Wednesday, he would no longer be the CEO of Rivian.
Ford is a key partner with Rivian for its self-driving vehicle technology, which the company is testing for the first time in Kansas City, Mo.
When Ford first announced the deal, we noted that the company was using this testing partnership to fulfill its ambition to be the first automaker with a mass-marketed self-driving vehicle. Ford also has a longstanding history of building pickup trucks that competed with the Rivian’s planned pickup truck. But Ford’s announcement that it will boost its F-150 production to 70,000 trucks per month by the end of 2019 suggests that it was seeking to ensure a clear supply gap between future Ford vehicles without relying on Rivian.
About a year ago, Ford announced that it had signed a collaboration agreement with Magna International for the engineering and manufacturing of electrified and autonomous vehicles. Magna is a major Canadian automotive supplier. As the Mercury News reported, Magna’s initial focus in the agreement is to develop a battery-electric passenger vehicle to be introduced in North America in 2020. And though Magna also has a car component operation in Fairfax, a town about 30 miles northeast of Denver, Colorado, that supports Ford’s plant there, Magna said that it did not plan to hire any more people there to support its work on Ford projects.