American startup Rivian has no complaints about the backlash in the media. The R1T electric truck was recently launched and made a strong impression in the business press in the United States and abroad. The only problem, not least, is that production doesn’t follow. With major supply problems and the assembly line in dire need of modernization, the production of Rivian cars was largely insufficient, which led to significant financial losses. To tackle this, Rivian enlisted the chief executive officer of Austrian specialist Magna Steyer to fix problems at his plant.
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Now that Rivian has three models in its range (the R1T truck, its R1S SUV counterpart, on the one hand, and the Amazon electric truck on the other), the company is struggling to achieve a production rate high enough to meet its target of 25,000 vehicles per year.
In order to solve these problems and thus meet the demand of its customers and ensure the deliveries stipulated in the agreement with Amazon, the American brand has appointed Frank Klein, who has been CEO of Magna Steyr since 2019 after a 25-year career at Daimler. He will be replaced at the helm of Austrian producer Gunther Uppfalter, President of Magna Europe & Asia.
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Mr. Klein will be responsible for finding solutions to the semiconductor shortage and rationalizing Rivian’s manufacturing facility, which has not met operational targets. At Magna Steyr, Frank Klein oversaw production of the Jaguar I-Pace and began production of the Fisker Ocean, the two electric crossovers/SUVs.
For Rivian, having adequate production capacity – the brand has produced barely just over 900 vehicles since September 2021 – is critical. Not only to be able to deliver to customers who have already placed orders, but also to reduce losses that accumulate and put pressure on the financial results of the startup. In November 2021, the Rivian was valued at $147 billion (€133.65 billion), more than the Volkswagen Group, which was worth $138.5 billion (€121.82 billion).
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