Just three months ago, Lincoln announced that it would build a vehicle based on the Rivian Group's electric platform. The luxury automaker confirmed this week that that project is off the table, as reported by the Automotive News. The announcement of the cancellation was apparently made to Lincoln dealers, with the company laying blame on "the current environment". Which of course refers to the health crisis currently being felt all over the world.
The industry has, for one, seen sales of new vehicles collapse, adding incredible financial stress on manufacturers. Ford, in fact, announced losses of $2 billion in the first quarter of the year, a shortfall mainly attributable to the pandemic. It predicts that figure will reach $5 billion in the second quarter.
Lincoln originally wanted to launch the new electric-powered model in 2022. It was to build on the foundation of Rivian's R1S and R1T models, suggesting that the product would have been an SUV, although this had not been confirmed by Lincoln. The partnership with the fledgling company was so close that assembly was even planned for Rivian's Illinois plant. Production at that facility has also been shut down due to coronavirus, which will play havoc with the production schedules for all models destined to be built there in the near-future.
“Given the current environment, Lincoln and Rivian have decided not to pursue the development of a fully electric vehicle based on Rivian’s skateboard platform. Our strategic commitment to Lincoln, Rivian and electrification remains unchanged and Lincoln’s future plans will include an all-electric vehicle consistent with its Quiet Flight DNA.”
- Lincoln statement
Naturally, Lincoln did not provide details regarding this future vehicle or a timeline of when it might be ready. Conceivable the company could take advantage of the Mustang Mach-E's platform, or the future electric structure of the F-150 pickup truck, depending of course on the size of the vehicle to be developed. Lincoln affirmed it doesn't want news of the cancellation to be interpreted as a weakening of its relationship with Rivian.
Rather, most will conclude the move was made necessary by current realities. Many of the current decisions being made across the industry are a direct consequence of Covid-19.
“Our partnership with Rivian is strong. While the Lincoln electric vehicle did not turn out to be the right opportunity, we continue to work closely together with Rivian. Our strategic commitment remains unchanged and we will continue to work with Rivian on an alternative vehicle based on Rivian’s skateboard platform.”
- Lincoln statement