Rivian is reportedly in the midst of negotiating the removal of the exclusivity clause from its agreement with Amazon to supply the online retailer with electric vans.
Under the 2019 agreement with Amazon, among other requirements, Rivian was forced to sell all its vans to Amazon, which agreed to buy 100,000 vans by 2030. However, that agreement is set to change dramatically. Due to financial pressure in Silicon Valley, Amazon is looking to decrease the number of vans it purchases from the EV startup this year. In turn, it will drop the exclusivity clause from the contract, according to the Wall Street Journal.
According to the report, Rivian and Amazon have not yet finalized the deal. Still, it looks like very little would change regarding the relationship between the two companies.
Amazon would remain the top shareholder of the automaker, controlling 17 percent of the company, and would still aim to purchase 100,000 vans by 2030, if at a slightly slower pace; “Rivian remains an important partner for Amazon, and we’re excited about the future,” one Amazon representative told the WSJ. As for Rivian, it remains unclear who the automaker would now be looking to supply with the excess vans it produces this year.
“Our relationship with Amazon has always been a positive one,” a Rivian spokesperson told Teslarati. “We continue to work closely together and are navigating a changing economic climate, similar to many companies.”
The reaction from investors has been swift, sending Rivian shares down nearly 5% in trading this morning, likely influenced by the news that Amazon would decrease the number of vans it would buy from the automaker. However, this isn’t all bad news for Rivian.
By being unchained from the exclusivity agreement with Amazon, Rivian can now more seriously battle competition from Ford and Mercedes, who have long been dominant in the commercial van market. Furthermore, it may incentivize Rivian to ramp up van production much faster than if Amazon were to maintain its exclusivity agreement.
Sadly, this news follows a flurry of bad news for Rivian investors over the past two weeks. Perhaps most notably, Rivian announced the creation of a new corporate bond, which would help the automaker fund the development and production of its next generation of trucks. Secondly, the automaker remains conservative regarding its production expectations for this year, expecting to produce 50,000 vehicles instead of the 60,000+ hoped for by investors.
As usual, Rivian will need to fight its way out of poor investor sentiment and hope its continued dedication to its product will win out. Though with thousands of customers set to receive their trucks in the coming months, Rivian certainly is more dedicated than ever.
Disclosure: William is not invested in Rivian or its bond, nor is he invested in Amazon.
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