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Rivian delays production launch to 2021
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Rivian delays production launch to 2021

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Large crowds turned out to look at Rivian Automotive's R1S prototype during a public rollout of the company's new vehicles in Uptown Normal Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019.

NORMAL — Rivian Automotive has delayed production to next year amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“Given the fact that Rivian had to shut down for their workers, I think there’s still construction going on, I can see that this is a setback," Normal Mayor Chris Koos told The Pantagraph. "I fully expected this to happen. They were working very furiously hard to get the line going and to have that come to a stop I’m sure set them back, so I completely understand that 2021 is probably a more realistic goal.”

The electric vehicle company was expected to roll out its fully electric truck and SUV later this year, but delayed production to 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Koos does not expect the delay to negatively impact Normal, and he is confident the plant will move forward with its production plans in 2021.

"I’m sure that there’s some work that they can do from home, but not much," Koos said. "I think everybody is having to readjust their outlook and their plans as a result of the COVID-19 and Rivian is not alone in that.”

Rivian spokesman Zach Dietmeier could not be reached for comment Monday evening.

Rivian came to Bloomington-Normal in 2016 after purchasing the shuttered Mitsubishi plant in west Normal. It announced a partnership with Lincoln to manufacture a fully electric luxury vehicle earlier this year.

Several sites remain under construction as the plant gears up for production. But over the last few weeks the company has operated under a skeletal maintenance crew, with 10 out of roughly 315 employees on site for construction. 

Rivian continues to pay all employees as the company closed all of its facilities due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Rivian invested $29.4 million in its future production facility in Normal and is expected to bring in thousands of employees to the plant over the next 10 years.

Contact Sierra Henry at 309-820-3234. Follow her on Twitter: @pg_sierrahenry.

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