* I admit I was very skeptical about this company and even Gov. Rauner tried to distance himself from it, but things seem to really be happening with Rivian. Tribune…
Rivian, which is opening a factory in downstate Normal, is getting a $350 million investment from Cox Automotive, the latest equity partner to take a stake in the electric truck startup.
In addition to the investment, announced Tuesday, the companies will explore opportunities to team up in areas such as logistics and digital retailing as Rivian gets closer to launching its electric pickup truck and SUV late next year. […]
The investment is the third major vote of confidence this year in the startup. In April, Rivian announced a $500 million investment from Ford, following a $700 million investment round led by Amazon in February.
Founded in 2009, Rivian’s mission is to become the Tesla of trucks, drawing investors and consumer interest long before the first vehicles roll off the line at a former Mitsubishi plant in Normal currently undergoing renovations.
Who or what is Cox Automotive? It’s the parent company of some brands you probably know like Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book, and some that you might not like Manheim. Despite not necessarily being a household name, Cox has surprisingly deep pockets and has decided to draw on them for a $350 million investment in the burgeoning EV (electric vehicle) startup.
What is Cox getting for its money? Kind of a lot, it turns out. Specifically, it’s getting a seat on Rivian’s board, and Rivian stated that it will work with Cox to “explore opportunities for partnerships in digital retailing, service operations and logistics.”
That may sound boring, and you may already have fallen asleep reading it, but for Cox it’s a big deal, since a large chunk of its business involves working with car dealers to get them and their listings in front of the eyes of consumers. If it can get even closer to the source of things, even better.
“We are building a Rivian ownership experience that matches the care and consideration that go into our vehicles,” said RJ Scaringe, founder and CEO of Rivian, in a statement. “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.”
Cox Automotive has a number of specialties, such as logistics, fleet management and service and digital retailing, which is the back-end retail support that a company selling and servicing vehicles will need. For instance, Cox Automotive launched in January a fleet services brand called Pivet that handles the task management, including everything from in-fleeting, de-fleeting, cleaning, detailing, fueling and charging, to maintenance, storage, parking and logistics.
While Rivian has never explicitly announced plans to have a subscription service to its vehicles, this type of service would come in handy if the automaker pursued that as a business model.
Cox Automotive has also been building out parts of its business to take advantage of the rise in electrified vehicles, including battery diagnostics and second-life battery applications.