Rivian opens a showroom in Georgia, Plans Factory

Rivian opens a showroom in Georgia, Plans Factory

A Rivian employee gives a test drive of the Rivian R1S SUV from the company’s new showroom at Ponce City Market in Atlanta on October 19. (Arvin Temkar/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution via Tribune Content Agency)

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Electric automaker Rivian has opened a new retail and customer service space in the heart of Atlanta to showcase its vehicles and brand and confirmed plans to break ground on a new factory in Georgia early next year.

Speaking inside the company’s new location in the Ponce City Market — which opened to the public on October 20 — Rivian spokespeople said the sorting process at its future factory site near Rutledge, about an hour east of Atlanta, will be completed by the end of the year. year. The $5 billion plant will produce the company’s upcoming R2 crossover when production begins in 2026 and is expected to eventually employ 7,500 workers.

Legal battles over property tax breaks that state and local officials granted the company to bring to Georgia have slowed construction, but Rivian officials expressed optimism on October 19 about the project’s trajectory.

“We feel like we’ve come full steam ahead, and we’ve been extremely thrilled with the partnership and progress,” said Dennis Cherry, senior director of design and retail development at Rivian.

Initially, Rivian’s Georgia factory will be able to manufacture 200,000 vehicles per year, and the company has shared new images of what the first phase will look like. The second phase will expand capacity to build an additional 200,000 units each year – or 400,000 units per year.

Rivian currently manufactures its flagship R1S SUV, R1T pickup truck and electric delivery vans at its existing factory in Normal, Illinois. But the company hopes the smaller, cheaper R2 — which will be produced exclusively at the plant in Morgan and Walton counties — will be popular. For fans she said it is crucial to future growth plans.

Before the R2s hit assembly lines in Georgia, the company’s new properties in Ponce City Market seek to familiarize more people with the Rivian brand.

The company’s new Atlanta “space,” as it’s called in Rivian parlance, is the company’s eighth such location in the United States.

A Rivian employee gives a test drive of the Rivian R1S SUV from the company’s new showroom at Ponce City Market in Atlanta on October 19. (Arvin Temkar/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution via Tribune Content Agency)

Part showroom, part brand showcase and education center, the clean industrial space looks like an EV version of an Apple Store, filled with the company’s mix of high-tech but outdoorsy aesthetics.

The focus is not on sales. Purchases and reservations can be made from a mobile phone or computer, although Georgia law does not allow Rivian to bypass independent agents and sell in stores directly to consumers. In 2015, the Georgia General Assembly passed a law allowing Tesla vehicles to be sold directly to the consumer. Rivian pushed Georgia lawmakers to pass a similar one last session, but the efforts failed and the fate of the bill was unclear.

Instead, the company said the purpose of this space is to show potential customers what it would look and feel like to own a Rivian.

Visitors can sit in one of the electric cars parked inside or book a test drive. Many of the abundant outdoor accessories they offer — from equipment kits and cables to rechargeable flashlights and water bottles — are on display as well. Even Rivian-branded T-shirts and coffee mugs bearing the “Keep Your Atlanta Adventure Forever” stamp are available for purchase.

For a company that does almost all of its business online, Cherry said there is still value in having a physical space for customers to learn about Rivian products.

“It allows you to experience our brand, our mission and our products in a really tangible way,” Cherry said.

Although automakers are moving quickly to electrify most of their new models, research has shown that there is still concern among some buyers about electric cars, with battery range and cost among the top concerns. The company said it also hopes its Ponce City Market space will ease drivers’ concerns about the technology, and show potential buyers the adventurous destinations that Rivian EVs can reach from Atlanta and its regional charging network locations.

“Once you understand the product and the shipping and all these other things that seem complicated, the resistance goes down dramatically,” Cherry said.

Cox Enterprises, the parent company of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, owns about 4% of Rivian shares.

(tags translatable)Rivian

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