Cox Automotive To Invest $350 Million Electric Truck Maker Rivian

An investment of $350 million will be made in the Plymouth, Michigan-based company and all-electric vehicle maker Rivian by automotive services company Cox Automotive, the company announced on Tuesday.

Rivian is considered to become a potential rival for the established all electric auto makers such as Tesla and the like with additional support from such investments. The company already has the backing of companies including Amazon and Ford Motor and this latest investment infusion would add on to its investor base, said the company.

This is the third investment in 2019 that has flowed into Rivian as the company had earlier struck partnerships with an Amazon lead funding round of $700 million in February and with Ford announcing an investment of $500 million in April.

“We are building a Rivian ownership experience that matches the care and consideration that go into our vehicles,” said RJ Scaringe, founder and CEO of Rivian, in a statement. “Cox Automotive’s global footprint, service and logistics capabilities, and retail technology platform make them a great partner for us.”

No information about the amount of equity Cox Automotive will receive against the investment was given by both the companies.

Production plans of Rivian involves manufacturing of electric vehicles at a former factory of Mitsubishi in Normal, Illinois, which had been acquired by it in 2017. The company was formed about a decade and it had recently unveiled two all-electric vehicles – the R1T pickup and the R1S SUV, for the first time in its career.

The company expects to be able to start delivery of the vehicles by late 2020 and then launch and deliver four more vehicle models by 2025. According to the company, the vehicles would be able to travel 400 miles on a single charge and offer an “unmatched combination of off-road utility and high performance.”

There is a rising interest among startups as well as established automakers to in the field of all-electric pickups and SUVs and they view this to be a potentially new and prospective market. Later this year, Ford and General Motors have confirmed that they are producing electric [pick up vehicles while it is expected that Tesla would unveil an all-electric pickup.

Privately held Cox Enterprise is the owner of Cox Automotive and the company owns some well known consumer facing brands in the segment including Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book and Manheim. While the company had invested and acquired companies in the automotive related sector before, this is the first time that it has invested in a vehicle manufacturer.

“We are excited by Rivian’s unique approach to building an electrified future and to be part of the positive impact its products will bring to our roads and the world around us,” said Sandy Schwartz, president of Cox Automotive. “This investment complements Cox Automotive’s own commitment to environmental change through our Cox Conserves efforts.”

Previous investments and acquisitions of the company includes lidar company Ouster, peer-to-peer car-sharing and rental firm GetAround, and the maker of the software that runs subscription services for Porsche, Mercedes and BMW, Clutch Technologies.

(Adapted from CNBC.com)

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