Electric automaker Rivian is laying off around 6 percent of its 14,000 employees, or around 800 people, Amy Mast, a spokesperson for the company, confirmed in an email. The company made the decision in part to speed up development on future versions of its electric trucks and SUVs, she said.
“Today we announced the difficult decision to reduce the size of the Rivian team by approximately 6%,” Mast wrote. “This decision will help align our workforce to our key business priorities, including ramping up the consumer and commercial vehicle programs, accelerating the development of R2 and other future models, deploying our go-to-market programs and optimizing spend across the business.”
This follows a report from earlier in the month that suggested the company’s leadership was looking to remove jobs that were added as it scaled up and that aren’t involved in manufacturing.
Rivian has been making changes recently in an attempt to cut costs, according to an email CEO RJ Scaringe sent to employees after reports started circulating that it was considering layoffs. A copy of this email was sent to The Verge by Rivian spokesperson Miranda Jimenez earlier this month. In it, Scaringe wrote:
We’ve implemented changes across Rivian, including prioritizing certain programs (and stopping some), halting certain non-manufacturing hiring and adopting major cost down efforts to reduce material spend and operating expenses. We also began the process of aligning the organization as a whole to ensure we are as focused, nimble and efficient as possible to achieve our priorities and objectives.
Rivian’s plan has been to ramp up production this year
This news comes at a crucial time for Rivian. The company is just starting to ramp up production of its pickups, SUVs, and delivery vans for Amazon. In its most recent earnings report, the company said it had produced around 2,553 vehicles, delivered 1,227, and was still planning on having made 25,000 by the end of the year. (The company will likely be including updated production numbers in its Q2 earnings report, due on August 11th.) Bloomberg notes that Rivian has massive cash reserves, but the company also lost an incredible amount of money last quarter: around $1.59 billion.
Rivian isn’t the only company going through with layoffs. We’ve seen several tech companies let go of large percentages of their staff in recent months. Ford is reportedly considering laying off 8,000 workers, and fellow electric automaker Tesla has announced plans to cut 10 percent of its workforce.
However, that’s not particularly unusual for Tesla, and that company sells hundreds of thousands of cars per quarter. While Tesla is no stranger to delays, it has proven that it can get vehicles off the line in mass quantities. For Rivian, which has almost 200,000 preorders based on its last numbers (half of which are from Amazon), that capability is still in question.
Update July 27th, 5:03PM ET: This post has been updated to reflect Rivian’s announcement that it’s going through with layoffs.