Rivian opens Tech center in Serbia

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Serbia may not seem like the most obvious choice for a Rivian Tech center, but the company is confident.

Rivian has officially expanded outside North America with the opening of a tech center in Belgrade, Serbia, where it hopes to hire some 200 engineers in the near future, as well as an additional 1,000 workers over time. The EV startup is looking to developing its mapping tech, infotainment and advanced driver assistance systems at this location in the Balkans, as well as provide IT services for the entire company.

According to Serbian president Aleksandar Vučić, this is a great day for his country, and it reaffirms Serbia’s position on the automotive technology map. He considers Rivian as being the world’s most innovative EV startup and that it helps put the country on the “innovative-technological map,” as he calls it. He goes on to say that

We have been working on this for at least a year and a half. This arrival is very significant for us. Rivian is the most innovative company in the whole world when it comes to electric vehicles. We brought the best from the world to Serbia – Serbia is the only one that succeeded. Besides the USA and Canada, they opened a center only in Serbia. No one else in Europe can boast of that.

Rivian was also planning to build vehicles in Europe via a joint venture with Mercedes-Benz, which seemed like it was going to go through as the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in September. It stated that the company would produce vehicles in Poland, Hungary or Romania, but now that won’t happen as Rivian focuses on first having a positive cash flow before considering any kind of expansion.

Rivian Chief Financial Officer Claire McDonough was quoted by Reuters as stating that

The pausing of this partnership reflects our process of continually evaluating our major capital projects, while taking into consideration our current and anticipated economic conditions.

Rivian currently manufactures the R1T pickup, the R1S SUV and delivery vans for Amazon at its only plant located in Normal, Illinois. At the start of 2022, the manufacturer announced that it was planning to build 25,000 vehicles this year, and in October it hadn’t reached 15,000, yet it was still confident that it could achieve its goal by the end of the year.

Earlier this year Rivian added a second shift to its Normal factory, allowing it to post its best quarterly results ever in Q2, when it built 7,363 vehicles, a considerable jump over the same quarter in 2021. It still posted a net loss of $1.23-billion in Q3, and that’s unlikely to turn positive overnight as it continues to work towards honoring the 114,000 preorders, as well as the big order from Amazon for 100,000 electric delivery vans, Inside EVS writes.

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