By on April 30, 2020

Image: Lincoln

Ford bought its way into Rivian’s good graces — and its proprietary “skateboard” electric vehicle platform — with a $500 million pledge back in April of 2019. In January we learned that the “all-new, next-generation battery electric vehicle” promised a year earlier would wear a Lincoln badge, with most observers expecting that model to appear as a midsize, three-row SUV (mirroring Rivian’s own R1S).

Scratch all that, Ford Motor Company said on Tuesday. The joint vehicle is off the table, but the relationship is still on. So what now?

The automaker said in a statement that it still plans to work with Rivian, and that an “alternative vehicle” will one day be built on Rivian’s platform. In the meantime, however, the coronavirus pandemic that struck a major blow to Ford Motor Company’s first-quarter finances has forced the two companies to ditch their current project.

Lincoln wouldn’t say just how the pandemic scuttled its plans. You’d think the model’s development would simply be deferred to a later date as the automaker does what it can to reduce expenses amid the current production halt and sales downturn. The exact nature and timeline for the jointly developed model was similarly hazy, though a report in Reuters last November claimed the platform underpinning Rivian’s R1T pickup and R1S SUV would form the basis of a Lincoln SUV due out in mid-2022. The model — reportedly codenamed U787 ⁠— was assumed to be a midsize, three-row vehicle.

If Lincoln’s going to use a Rivian platform for something, what should that vehicle be? A flagship halo sedan or slinky performance coupe, or exactly what we thought this mystery vehicle would be until yesterday? A big, green SUV with lowered development costs seemed a fairly decent idea until the pandemic hit; should we return to normal in the future, it might seem like a good idea all over again.

Consult your crystal balls and weigh in.

[Image: Lincoln]

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13 Comments on “What Now of Lincoln’s Rivian Relationship?...”

  • avatar

    The desk salesman already said that other launches would be delayed by a few weeks due to the virus, but that no one will care because of the situation. So something else is clearly going on. Either they decided that the Rivian platform wasn’t going to make a good Lincoln after all, or they decided that it would be a money losing model.

    I still very much doubt these automakers’ commitments to green tech. Yeah, we get these impressive plans for dozens of new electrified models, but then after the splashy reveal, the models slowly get culled and never materialize. Then, the few electrified models that do get released end up dying on the vine from lack of dealer interest and high prices.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Or they decided it was never going to show up and were they to do an electric SUV, an EV Navigator based on the EV F150 which now looks likely to beat the Rivian to production was an easier bet.

      • 0 avatar

        I agree, they said they reached the decision with Rivan, which to me indicated that Rivan came clean with the fact that the were behind schedule and the current situation added further delays.

      • 0 avatar

        Never really understood why the Rivian tie up was even necessary. The Mach E platform can easily make a Lincoln. Same with the F150 hybrid and/or EV.

        • 0 avatar

          They were obviously drunk.

          Rivan was coming on to them and they are part of the trendy new hotness. It wasn’t until after they spent their money that they decided what they wanted out of it.

          Now that the hangover has worn off and they’ve looked at Rivan w/o the beer goggles on it isn’t looking nearly as good and promising. Plus they remembered the Mach-E and EV-150, how much money they spent on that and how close those are to production.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Lincoln wouldn’t say just how the pandemic scuttled its plans”

    That’s because the CV had nothing to do with it. They merely realized that since Tesla is barely profitable with 2X Lincoln’s sales, a niche EV in the Lincoln lineup would be a money loser.

    Another possibility: Rivian’s battery costs may be too high.

    I predict Lincoln produces exactly nothing from the Rivian relationship.

  • avatar

    What now? Oh that what now? There is no me and you, not no more.

    Ford is going to write down the $500M they flushed down the toilet, Rivian will go die in the trash heap, and the cycle will continue with some other automaker next in line at the cash furnace.

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