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Electric truck maker Rivian laying off 6% of its workforce

By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNN Business

Rivian, the Amazon-backed manufacturer of electric pickups, SUVs and delivery vans, is laying off about 6% of its workforce as the company adjusts as the “world has dramatically changed,” according to an email sent by CEO RJ Scaringe to Rivian’s roughly 14,000 employees.

About 840 of those employees were told Wednesday that they will be leaving the company.

Scaringe pointed to inflation, rising interest rates and increased commodity prices as factors that led the startup automaker to trim its workforce.

Rivian only recently started production of its three initial products, the R1T pickup, the R1S luxury SUV and an electric delivery van for which Amazon, a major Rivian investor, is the primary customer.

The R1T pickup and R1S SUV have been well received by critics, with the truck getting MotorTrend’s Truck of the Year award. The company has faced some struggles with ramping up its manufacturing with Scaringe pointing to supply chain issues and the tight labor market, specifically, as challenges.

Rivian’s electric vehicles are currently manufactured in a former Mitsubishi factory in Normal, Illinois, but the automaker is already planning a second factory near Atlanta. The Georgia factory is expected to eventually employ as many as 7,500 workers.

“We are financially well positioned and our mission is more important than ever, but to fully realize our potential, our strategy must support our sustainable growth as we ramp towards profitability.” Scaringe wrote in an email to employees announcing the layoffs.

The Irvine, California-based company offered departing employees 14 weeks of regular pay as well of continuing healthcare coverage through the end of the year.

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