Much like everything else on the planet, the current global coronavirus pandemic and its associated economic crisis has created turmoil throughout the automotive world. We’ve heard about delays in several projects — but on April 28th, we caught word of an outright cancelation. Lincoln and Rivian had announced plans in January to co-build the luxury automaker’s first battery-electric vehicle, as part of the $500 million investment in Rivian Ford had made in 2019. According to Automotive News, Lincoln and Rivian have ended their vehicular project due to the pandemic.
Which, to put it mildly, is quite a bummer, because a Lincoln-Rivian collaboration sounded like a fantastic idea. Rivian’s skateboard EV platform looks like it will be one of the most capable and versatile electric vehicle foundations on the market. Lincoln has been doing beautiful things on the design front, with new SUV standouts like the Navigator and Aviator. Even if the project only produced a rebadged version of Rivian’s R1S SUV designed by Lincoln, it would have been eagerly anticipated.
Still, given the current business climate, the project’s termination is not too surprising. Ford just announced a $2 billion loss for Q1, and expects a bigger hit in Q2. With major profit-makers like the new Bronco vehicles and the next-generation F-150 delayed, it would make sense that a low-volume Lincoln EV would be a lower priority what with limited resources.
The covid-19 crisis also caught Rivian in the midst of gearing up its factory for production. The company has delayed its production start for its vehicles until 2021.
It’s not entirely clear what will happen with Lincoln and Rivian moving forward. Lincoln, in a statement, told Autoblog that an eventual electric vehicle would be part of its plans, which presumably could run on electric platforms Ford is developing for the Mustang Mach-E and the electric F-150 pickup. The statement also noted that the company was still committed to working on an alternative skateboard platform vehicle with Rivian. So, the collaboration could still happen…just likely not in the manner we’d hoped.
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