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Rivian pulls plug on Mercedes electric van deal

The American electric vehicle start-up backed by Amazon has halted a joint venture with Mercedes-Benz to produce vans in Europe.

Rivian, which has been seeking to reduce its cash burn, said that it wanted to concentrate on its existing commercial deals.

Rivian and Mercedes signed a memorandum of understanding in September that involved a jointly owned factory producing electric vans for both companies.

“We share the same goal as Mercedes-Benz Vans, to help the world to transition to electric vehicles, and we look forward to exploring opportunities with them at a more appropriate time for Rivian,” Robert Scaringe, 39, the chief executive, said.

Mercedes-Benz Vans said that it “respects” the decision. It will continue its own electrification strategy and will increase production at its first dedicated electric van factory, in Poland.

Mathias Geisen, 44, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, said: “Exploring strategic opportunities with the team at Rivian in the future remains an option.”

Rivian’s investors include Amazon and Ford. It has a deal to supply Amazon with 100,000 electric vans and is building a plant in Atlanta, Georgia, which it hopes will open in 2024 and will produce 400,000 vehicles a year.

In October, Rivian, based in California, recalled almost all the vehicles it had delivered to customers — about 13,000 — to tighten loose nuts that could cause steering problems.

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