Lincoln-Rivian EV Project Cancelled

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Rivian and Ford Motor Co. are nixing plans to deliver a jointly developed Lincoln EV. Despite Lincoln President Joy Falotico saying the model would deliver one of the most tranquil and luxurious driving experiences on the planet back in January, Lincoln told dealers on Tuesday that development would be scrapped.

Ford invested $500 million in Rivian last year. The collaborative project was intended to deliver a high-end, battery driven vehicle built on the “skateboard” platform underpinning Rivian’s R1T pickup and R1S SUV. Had the project not been taken behind the shed and shot this week, an assumed mid-size Lincoln crossover would have arrived in 2022.

Official reasons given for the cancellation thus far include naming the coronavirus pandemic and shrugging.

According to Automotive News, the rationale issued to dealers was simply the “current environment.” When pressed for clarification, Ford said that it remains committed to the EV startup and ensuring that electric vehicles are added to Lincoln’s lineup. It also noted it still wants to use Rivian’s skateboard platform on another vehicle.

Why it can’t be the vehicle initially planned is up for debate. While the health/economic crisis has certainly delayed a number of product launches, this is the first outright product cancellation we’ve seen.

From Automotive News:

The Bronco Sport, an Escape-sized off-roader, will start rolling off assembly lines at Ford’s Hermosillo, Mexico, plant on Sept. 7, nearly 60 days after the original July 13 target, according to supplier information obtained by Automotive News.

It’s unclear how the virus has impacted other vehicles, including the upcoming Bronco SUV, F-150 pickup and Mustang Mach-E crossover.

Ford CEO Jim Hackett, speaking last month on a Detroit radio station, said the virus was not likely to have a significant impact on the launch of some of Ford’s biggest models.

“It’s had an effect, but it’s not going to dampen our spirits about how all these great new things have to come to market,” Hackett said. “If they’re a month or six weeks late, I don’t think anyone would think we fumbled there because of the virus.”

Before we place all of the blame on Ford, Rivian has also had to delay production of its own products on account of the coronavirus. In April, spokesperson Amy Mast said the brand’s product launch would have to be pushed back until 2021. With no “skateboard” to build a Lincoln body atop of, Ford may have simply not liked the shape of things and pulled off to ask itself the $500-million question of how it intends to work around that. Cash burned during the automaker’s production shutdown, combined with virus-stricken sales, can’t be ruled out as a motivating factor for shelving the project.

[Image: Ford Motor Co.]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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2 of 26 comments
  • Dwford Dwford on Apr 29, 2020

    This "current environment" rap doesn't hold much water for a vehicle that wasn't going to be released for 2 more years. So they barely started on it, and now it's cancelled.

  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Apr 29, 2020

    "When we don't keep a promise to someone, it communicates to that person that we don't value him or her. We have chosen to put something else ahead of our commitment. Even when we break small promises, others learn that they cannot count on us. Tiny fissures develop in our relationships marked by broken promises."

  • Redapple2 Love the styling of the amazon delivery thingy.
  • Dukeisduke One of the stories in today's Autoline Daily says Rivian could run out of cash in two years (they've got $7.8b in the bank now, and burned through $3.7b last year.). They've got to get to scale on the R2 to turn a profit. Remember, Tesla lost money for ten years, then finally got to scale with the Model 3.
  • Oberkanone Sign me up for the Abarth 500 EV with 250 miles range and sub 5 second 0-60 mph with MSRP of $24,999.$34,095 for 150 miles range. Ridiculous. Stand alone showrooms in USA for FIAT and Alfa. What a ginormous waste of capital.
  • Dave M. I'd bet they'd sell more if they ditched the L'il Orphan Annie headlights....
  • Dukeisduke I'm sure these will be well loved by all eight of the people that buy them.The OG ones have gone up in price since I saw them listed in 2019. Back then, low-mileage 2016 and 2017 models were going for $5k. Now they're $8k-$10k. But I'll bet that's just inflation.