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Layoffs Coming to Amazon-Backed Rivian: Report

Amazon-backed Rivian Automotive is reportedly looking to make cuts to its workforce that could amount to hundreds of layoffs.

The 5 percent trim to its more than 14,000-person headcount was first reported Monday by Bloomberg.

A Rivian spokesperson declined to comment on the report, which said the layoffs could occur in the coming weeks if the vehicle maker decides to move forward on those plans.

The layoffs would occur in non-manufacturing departments where there are redundancies, according to the report.

Rivian, which went public in November in one of the largest initial public offerings, attracted plenty of attention from investors, such as Amazon and Ford, prior to its IPO and has often drawn comparisons to Tesla with its sleek vehicle designs and digital ecosystem built for its customers.

The vehicle maker has a consumer-facing R1 platform that includes a truck and SUV. On the commercial side, its exclusive order with Amazon for 100,000 electric delivery vans to be used in last mile delivery is seen as the halo contract for its business-to-business revenue stream. Amazon had about an 18 percent stake in Rivian at the end of the first quarter, according to a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission.

Rivian’s direct-to-consumer strategy bypasses the traditional dealership model in favor of showroom experiences more akin to lifestyle boutiques. Its first brick-and-mortar showroom, which the company calls Hubs, bowed in Venice, Calif. last fall with space designated for community gatherings and workshops.

The company’s brick-and-mortar model also calls for Outposts aimed at showcasing its vehicles in more outdoorsy environments and preserves created with the aim of protecting open lands.

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Rivian’s also built out an online shop to not only sell vehicle accessories, but also branded sweatshirts, crop tops, hats and mugs among other items.

Monday’s Bloomberg report said layoffs were being considered for areas where the company had “grown too quickly,” citing anonymous sources familiar with Rivian’s plans.

Rivian, founded by ceo RJ Scaringe in 2009, began as a company based in Normal, Ill., where it still has a manufacturing plant. It relocated headquarters to Irvine, Calif. ahead of its IPO, rapidly growing its ranks there and elsewhere. The company now counts a presence in Carson and Palo Alto, Calif.; Plymouth, Mich.; Wittman, Ariz.; and overseas sites in Woking, U.K. and Vancouver, B.C. A second manufacturing plant is planned for Georgia, which would come at a roughly $5 billion development cost.

Rivian, like many automakers the past couple of years, has been hampered by chip and other parts shortages as a result of supply chain constraints. For Rivian, that’s cut into the company’s production and delivery estimates.

The company, which is set to report its second-quarter results in August, last week reiterated its production target of 25,000 vehicles for this year but hasn’t confirmed how much of that is comprised of the commercial vans.

Rivian’s shares are off about 71 percent since it began trading on the Nasdaq.