Is Rivian Owned By Ford?


Photo Courtesy of Rivian

Rivian, the big bright, and new automobile company taking the electric vehicle and the automotive industry by storm. Often, big companies are owned by even bigger companies, but is this the case with Rivian? Many people are wondering if Rivian is owned by the famed Ford Motor company. 

Is Rivian owned by Ford? Rivian is not completely owned by Ford and was founded completely separate from Ford as a start-up by RJ Scaringe. Ford does own a portion of Rivian and has made agreements with Rivian to continue with that ownership, but Ford does not own Rivian. Ford has largely invested in Rivian and currently owns less than 10 percent of the young company. 

In the business world, investment is big and companies are constantly partnering with one another and investing in companies to help grow their own company. Investments allow companies, to one, earn more money as they usually receive a dividend from companies they have invested in, and two, it allows big companies to have an influence on the actions of other companies that may profit from the investing company’s own motives. 

Ownership Of Rivian Explained

At the moment, Rivian is a privately owned company, though it is soon to go public, with the founder and CEO RJ Scaringe at the head of the massive operation. Rivian has had many investors jump on the wagon early to try to get a part of the giant empire that Rivian will become in the future. It is reported, at least 17 different companies have already invested in Rivian. So as you can see when it comes to saying who “owns” Rivian, it isn’t a simple answer. 

From its large group of investors, Rivian has accumulated more than 10.7 billion dollars in funding. That’s billions of more dollars than most companies have to work with than when they are just getting started. Rivian has received all of this funding before it has even put its first car out on the public market. Rivian will use this money to continue to grow its company, continue to fund research, development of new vehicles, and renovation and purchasing of existing and new manufacturing plants. 

Both Ford and Amazon are among the top investors of the company. CNBC reports that both Ford and Amazon own a considerable portion of Rivian already, with both companies owning more than 5% of Rivian. As Rivian approaches its date to go onto the public market, Amazon has announced that it has a 20% stake in the company. I will discuss the large role that Amazon has in Rivian later in the article as well as in our article “Is Rivian Owned By Amazon? Here Are The Facts”.

Rivian has a large board of executives that is full of experts in many fields like engineering, business, marketing, and the car industry in general. Most of these members are people with impressive resumes that Rivian has recruited from companies like Jeep, Tesla, and other automotive companies. Rivian has many experienced members on its board of directors that will no doubt contribute to the success of the company and help guide it into the future. 

Ford’s Association With Rivian

As stated before, Ford owns more than 5% of Rivian, but the exact amount of Rivian that Ford owns has not yet been announced to the public. Bloomberg.com reports that Ford has invested a total of $820 million in Rivian, the reason for its 5% ownership. Ford even had an executive of Rivians board of directors but they have since left the position. 

Before May, Ford’s Alexandra Ford English was on Rivian’s Board of directors. But he left the board and was replaced by one of Ford’s vice presidents, Doug Power, in June. Power left the Rivian board of directors in September. Both of the members of Ford leaving seems to be related to Riviain’s announcement and plans to go public starting in what was originally planned for September or October. This is all according to the information given by Reuters

Does Ford Have Any Plans Of Becoming A Majority Shareholder Of Rivian?

Though both of Ford’s executives, who were on the Rivian board of directors and have since withdrawn, Ford has announced plans to continue to invest and be in collaboration with Rivian for the future. Rivian is looking to be a big competitor in the automotive industry, especially when it comes to the market for electric cars. Ford has taken, what I think to be the smart move, the decision to try and partner/collaborate with Rivian instead of making a corporate enemy out of them.

As I said earlier, Ford has already invested 820 million dollars in Rivian, making it already one of the biggest investors. The Wall Street Journal has recently reported that Ford will have a 12 percent stake in the company, once it goes public. Seeing that Rivian has a projected stock value of $70 billion, 12 percent is a very large share of the company. The only company that, at the moment, is projected to have a larger share of the company is Amazon. 

The CEO of Ford, Jim Farley, has said that making money off the stocks is not the reason that Ford invested in Rivian. Even though the value of Rivian stock continues to rise, before it has even gone public, Farley ensures that they invested for more than just making money off of the value of the shares. These statements show that there are most likely other motives for Ford than just simply making money. 

Other Big Companies Rivian Is Associated With

 Other companies that have invested in Rivian include BlackRock Inc., Fidelity Investments, Soros Fund Management, Coatue, and Baron Capital Group. All of these companies have helped Rivian raise the 10.7 billion dollars in funding. Ford Motors, T. Rowe Price, and Amazon are the three biggest investors and backers of Rivian. Most of these companies are investment companies, so it might tell you something about the anticipated success of Rivian if all of these companies are so heavily invested. 

T. Rowe Price is a global investment management company headquartered in Baltimore. T. Rowe Price has invested over 1.3 billion dollars in Rivian’s multiple fundraising efforts. The most by any one company. It isn’t known if T. Rowe Price has plans on buying shares once Rivian goes public, but with the amount of money they have invested, it would be surprising if they don’t have some kind of deal worked out behind the scenes. 

As Rivian continues into the future, there is no doubt that there will not be a lack of other companies who will want to hop onto the bandwagon and get a part of Rivian’s future. Rivian is seen as Tesla’s greatest competitor and will likely continue to attract attention from other big-name companies. Rivian’s relation with other non-US companies is likely to grow. The Wall Street Journal also reports that General Motors had a possible interest in investing in Rivian, but was beat out by Ford. 

There are reported discussions between GM and Rivian that took place in past years, but Ford ended up coming out on top and winning the collaboration with Rivian. Both Ford and GM have plans of putting a lot of money toward electric companies for the future. The two have actually been investing in battery factories. Rivian actually plans on adding a new section to their factory in Normal, Illinois, specifically dedicated to battery manufacturing and development.

Amazon might end up being the biggest backer of Rivian. Amazon has not only invested heavily in the company but has gone as far as making an order of 10,000 electric delivery vehicles. And Rivian has already begun production on these vehicles. Amazon has made multiple agreements and plans to purchase even more of these vehicles if they perform as expected. Rivian and Amazon have an agreement where Amazon has complete rights to all Rivian commercial vans for 4 years, and after that, Amazon will have the right of first refusal

It is known that Amazon has invested at least 700 million dollars in Rivian. This amount does not include any other deals they have for payment of the 10,000 vans they ordered and future contracts. Amazon looks to be the majority shareholder of Rivian with an enormous stake on 20% of the company. Amazon will, of course, earn dividends from this hold on the company. Amazon also has one executive on the board of directors for Rivian. 

Is Ford Partnering With Rivian On Any Future Vehicles?

Plans were made, even during the coronavirus pandemic, to have a collaboration project between Ford and Rivian to create a vehicle. This vehicle was previewed to be a Lincoln. These plans have since been canceled and no announcements of continuation of the project have been made. According to Ford CEO, Jim Farley, Ford plans to have a strategic and long-term relationship with Rivian per Motortrend

Rivian CEO, Robert “RJ” Scaringe has said, “We haven’t announced anything with Ford in terms of what we might do together … We’re just being very thoughtful of the discussions that are going on.” When there is something to announce, “we would announce together.” again per Motortrend. Scaringe also talked about how he believes Rivain has a very good relationship with Ford. According to TechCrunch, Rivian and Ford do plan on collaborating for a vehicle in the future.

The good feelings seem to be mutual between Rivian and Ford, and it looks like both companies plan on having future projects and continued collaboration. Ford has announced that it will be releasing its own electric truck, starting in 2022. The F-150 Lightning will definitely be a competitor to Rivian’s R1T electric truck. The F-150 Lightning will most likely come onto the market at the same time as Rivian’s R1T electric truck, so it is very possible that Ford may be stealing customers that would have bought Rivian’s R1T. 

Though Ford and Rivian will clearly be competing with each other when it comes to electric trucks, there seems to be no hard feelings. Even with the announcement of Ford’s new electric truck, the relationship between Rivian and Ford seems to be continuing on strong. With Ford planning on spending over 30 billion dollars on electric cars in the coming years, it isn’t known how Ford will continue to progress. Ford has the choice of spending that money on developing its own electric vehicles, on new technology, or partnering more with Rivian.

Ford’s desire to develop its own electric vehicles seems to be a big motivation for Ford’s interest in Rivian. Rivian has very unique and efficient designs for their electric vehicles and is continuing to develop groundbreaking technology for EV’s. Ford wants to begin creating more electric vehicles, not only for Ford but for one of its sub-companies, Lincoln. Ford may use its relationship with Rivian to help advance its understanding and access to electric vehicle technologies. 

Farley, the CEO of Ford, seemed to make it clear that Ford didn’t invest in Riviain just for them to make electric cars for the company. Ford understands that Rivian is its own independent car manufacturing company, making its own vehicles. Though it isn’t against collaboration and partnership, Ford will continue making its own vehicles and Rivian their own. Rivian, as well as Ford, have plans for making many more electric cars they want to make in the future but no one knows for sure if there will be an increased amount of collaboration between the two companies on these vehicles. Only the future can tell. 

Why Was The Rivian-Based Lincoln Canceled?

Plans were created between Ford and Rivian to create a Lincoln, Ford’s luxury car brand, which is based on Rivian’s special skateboard platform. From what Rivian and Ford have given to the media, the main reason for the cancellation of the plan to build a Rivian-based-Lincoln was the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to shortages in many manufacturing plants, as well as economical difficulty and job loss, it seems that Rivian and Ford decided to mutually end the project.

It is unknown if Rivian and Ford will pick up where they left off and continue with these plans, or if they will just completely scrap the idea and move on to developing different ideas together. Lincoln still has plans to convert to all-electric vehicles in the future, but it is unknown if they will be using the Rivian skateboard platform, or if they will design their electric cars another way. 

From what is reported by TechCrunch, it seems like Ford was the main party to push for the cancellation of what seemed like it was going to be an electric Lincoln SUV. Ford announced that, due to the environment surrounding the pandemic, they thought it would be better to focus their effort and resources on developing their own electric vehicles. 

Though Ford has expressed the desire to have a partnership with Rivian on Ford’s electric vehicles. Because using Rivian’s skateboard platform design would save them a lot of time and money that they would have to put towards developing their own battery system for electric cars. This would almost give Ford a “headstart” so to speak, and allow them to get a larger amount of electric vehicles out on the market at a much quicker pace. 

Lincoln currently has two hybrid vehicles, the Aviator and Corsair Grand Touring. These are Lincoln’s first vehicles that have plug-in abilities. Lincoln currently doesn’t have any fully electric vehicles on the market, so these Rivian-based vehicles would have been its first electric vehicle. With Lincoln’s hopes of eventually going all-electric, there will most likely be electric Lincoln vehicles coming soon. 

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