Rivian’s alliance with Ford collapses

The 10 Chinese-owned car manufacturers owning a majority of Ford’s shares have canned plans to buy a stake in Italian luxury electric carmaker Rivian.

Ford and Rivian unveiled their partnership in December. The two companies had agreed to work together on the development of fully electric and hybrid car models. A working group was formed, and the board of directors of each company – a group whose members include some of China’s biggest auto manufacturers – met to hash out the details.

Ford executive chairman Bill Ford said he expected the partnership would lead to electric vehicles being built in Italy or China.

“We will work with Rivian and everyone that owns a substantial stake in Ford to build vehicles in multiple production platforms,” he said at the time.

Rivian had also announced a partnership with automotive supplier Valeo. Valeo had agreed to supply powertrain technology and wheels for electric vehicles.

But reports surfaced this week that Rivian’s European development and production operations were set to be outsourced to Fiat Chrysler – a move that sets up a showdown between the maker of Fiat and Chrysler, and the Italian carmakers that continue to be controlled by the Agnelli family.

Ford executives later said the rationale for working with Fiat had changed.

“There was some thinking that R&D might have been shared across Ford and Ferrari, where we took Ferrari’s technologies and combine them with ours,” said Bill Ford. “That’s not what we’re doing at this time.”

Rivian was founded in 2015 by former Land Rover, Jaguar and Volvo engineer Frank Miller. The carmaker developed its own battery electric and hybrid technology and has racked up investors including Daimler, Accel and European private equity firm Qiming.

Rivian’s first SUV is scheduled to go on sale in 2019, but it will not come to America.

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