NORMAL — Another auto company is buying into Rivian.
After Ford invested $500 million in the electric car startup that plans to make vehicles at the former Mitsubishi plant in Normal, service and logistics business Cox Automotive has stepped up with a $350 million equity investment, Rivian announced Tuesday.
“We are building a Rivian ownership experience that matches the care and consideration that go into our vehicles,” said Rivian Founder and CEO RJ Scaringe in a news release. “As part of this, we are excited to work with Cox Automotive in delivering a consistent customer experience across our various touchpoints. Cox Automotive’s global footprint, service and logistics capabilities, and retail technology platform make them a great partner for us.”
Rivian will remain independent but add a representative of Cox, an Atlanta-based collection of services including Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book and Manheim Auctions, to its board.
“We are excited by Rivian’s unique approach to building an electrified future and to be part of the positive impact its products will bring to our roads and the world around us,” said Cox Automotive President Sandy Schwartz. “This investment complements Cox Automotive’s own commitment to environmental change through our Cox Conserves efforts.”
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Rivian secured a $700 million investment led by Amazon in February, followed by Ford in April. Ford plans to make an electric vehicle with Rivian technology to be manufactured in Normal.
Rivian plans to have 1,000 full-time employees in Normal by 2024, making electric vehicles including its R1T pickup truck and R1S sport utility vehicle, both scheduled to hit the market in 2020.
"Any Rivian win is also a win for Bloomington-Normal," said Patrick Hoban, CEO of the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council. "They've got an exciting product, and a lot of people are interested in it. This is their third major investor (this year), and I'm sure there will be more on the way."
The company is overhauling the plant, including the paint line and offices, as part of a planned $40 million-plus investment.
"I am happily stunned and energized by what happens there," said Normal Mayor Chris Koos of Rivian on Facebook. "Incredible things coming."
Contact Derek Beigh at (309) 820-3234. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_beigh