Rivian and Amazon’s electric van could run out of seats

These are not easy times for the car industry, despite the fact that many manufacturers are making record profits. When microchips are not lacking, cables are scarce, raw material prices rise, or energy becomes more expensive. Sometimes, even, the situation can reach the absurd of not having seats for your vehicles, as it happens to Rivian.

Beginnings are never easy, but Rivian’s are proving to be especially difficult. The American startup has started manufacturing and selling cars at a time when all the winds seem to be blowing against it. As if the rising cost of batteries or the drastic drop in its shares on the stock market were not enough, now the company has filed a lawsuit against the supplier of the seats of its electric van, the Rivian RDV.

According to The Wall Street JournalRivian has filed a lawsuit against the company Commercial Vehicle Group alleging that the latter has breached the contract between the two companies by make products significantly more expensive -in this case, the seats in the van- compared to what they had agreed upon when signing the contract.

The vendor version is different. According to Commercial Vehicle Group, it increased its selling prices because Rivian changed the design of the seats after signing the contract. If this version is true, there would be a logical justification for raising the initially agreed prices. In addition, according to the supplier, there was no clause that obliged him to deliver the new seats at the same price.

Rivian has reportedly confirmed to the press that the seat supplier has continued to deliver the products, implying that Rivian has paid the manufacturer’s asking price for the seats. That Rivian has filed a lawsuit means, on the one hand, that an attempt at an amicable agreement to reduce the price did not come to fruition; and that the company does not have a plan B to get those seats, it does not have another provider. Rivian appears to have a single supplier for its van seats, a strategy that is costing it. A perhaps unusual error in the automotive industry, where vehicle manufacturers often have more than one supplier for certain components.

For now, Amazon delivery vans continue to receive their seats, but the situation is uncertain at best. What is clear is that it could trigger a delay in deliveries of the van, of which Amazon bought 100,000 units. At the end of this year, LFP batteries will begin to be mounted in these vans, cheaper and without the need to use cobalt, and that later -at the end of 2023- they will also reach the access versions of the Rivian R1T and R1S.

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