The ailing electric car manufacturer Rivian is facing another setback: the recall of almost 80 percent of the vehicles it produces.
Rivian’s R1T trucks, R1S SUVs and a subset of its electric delivery vehicles (EDVs) — a total of 12,212 vehicles — are being recalled for “a loose steering knuckle attachment.” [which] could separate and result in loss of vehicle control,” said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on its R1T recall notice page, which links documents for all recalled vehicles.
Despite the sweeping nature of the recall, the company claims the issue can be fixed in “minutes.”
Rivian has been in business since 2009 but only started delivering vehicles last September. According to the recall notice [PDF] Rivian R1T and R1S vehicles submitted to NHTSA that were manufactured during an indefinite 13-month period would need to be recalled, as would EDVs manufactured between December 10, 2021 and September 27, 2022.
In other words, most Rivian vehicles on the road are likely affected by the recall.
By last week, when it released its figures for the third quarter of 2022, Rivian said it had built a total of 15,332 cars – over 14,000 of them this year alone. Rivian produced 1,015 vehicles in fiscal 2021; 2,553 in Q1 2022; 4,401 in Q2 ’22 and 7,363 in its newly reported Q3. According to its own financial reports, 13,198 vehicles have been delivered to customers so far.
Although it is not clear how many of these are already on the road, 200,000 Rivian vehicles destined for sale are still being assembled.
Per the recall notice, Rivian will notify affected owners with letters mailed on November 24, 2022. The company encourages customers to call the Rivian service line to verify that their vehicle is included, referring to the FSAM 997 callback number.
Rivian hasn’t fared well since the cars rolled off the assembly line late last year. The company held an IPO in November, with shares going for sale at $78 per share and closing above $100 on the first day of trading.
Less than a year later, Rivian stock is hovering around $30 a share. Losses continue to pile up, with the company losing $1.7 billion in the second quarter of 2022 and announcing layoffs of 6 percent of its workforce during the same period.
In response to our questions about the recall, a Rivian spokesman issued a statement but said they had no additional information to add.
Rivian’s troubles also include a lawsuit filed by Laura Schwab, the electric vehicle maker’s former vice president of sales and marketing, who has accused the company of having an exclusionary boys’ club in its top echelons.
“I have repeatedly raised concerns about vehicle pricing and manufacturing timelines, but despite my extensive experience in vehicle launching and pricing, no one has listened to me,” wrote Schwab, formerly president of Aston Martin’s US operations was, in a Medium post announcing the lawsuit late last year.
Schwab claims she was ignored when she spoke about vehicle pricing, which she says would result in a loss, and court documents filed in the case point to another issue: manufacturing.
“As of spring 2021, Ms. Schwab began sounding the alarm about concerns she had about Rivian’s ability to deliver on its promises to investors…the manufacturing process had yet to be refined enough for the company to give a consumer a confident assurance of quality, integrity.” and safety of the vehicle,” Schwab’s attorneys alleged in a complaint [PDF].
Rivian, which counts Amazon and Ford among its major investors, faces other lawsuits beyond Schwab’s claims — it was also sued earlier this year for misleading investors (backed by Schwab’s claims of underpricing), and a second Employees last month filed a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment and a hostile work environment at the company’s Illinois facility. ®
https://www.theregister.com/2022/10/10/rivian_recalls_cars/ Rivian Recalls 12,000 Cars – Almost Every Vehicle Sold • The Register