Tesla challenger Rivian recalls almost all delivered vehicles to fix structural defect

Company will rectify a fastener that 'may not have been sufficiently torqued' and a nut that could fully loosen

Rivian said the almost total recall was made even though the issue was discovered only in seven vehicles, “out of an abundance of caution”.  AFP
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Electric vehicle maker Rivian Automotive, an emerging challenger to market leader Tesla, will recall about 13,000 vehicles — nearly all that were delivered to its customers — after discovering a minor structural defect.

The company, based in Irvine, California, is making the recall because a fastener “may not have been sufficiently torqued", chief executive RJ Scaringe said in a letter to customers that was seen by news agencies. The nut could loosen fully in “rare circumstances”, he added.

The almost total recall was made even though the issue was discovered only in seven vehicles, “out of an abundance of caution”. The company said it isn’t aware of any injuries resulting from the issue.

The company said the fix would only take a few minutes, and it expects to have finished the repairs on all of them in about 30 days, with customer collaboration.

Rivian is aiming to take advantage of a growing appetite among consumers and investors for electric vehicles. It is among a long line of companies, both new and old, trying to peel away market share from Tesla.

But the recall is a setback to Rivian, which has only recently overcome production problems and parts shortages to deliver its EVs to customers in meaningful volumes. The company also had to deal with the fallout of an embarrassing U-turn in March to raise prices on pre-orders.

Rivian builds the battery-electric R1T pickup and R1S sport utility vehicle for consumers. It also has a deal with Amazon.com, one of its biggest shareholders, to build 100,000 EV delivery vans by the end of this decade.

“The safety of our customers will always be our top priority, and we are committed to fixing this issue on any affected vehicles as quickly as possible,” a Rivian spokesperson said in a statement. “We will make any necessary adjustments free of charge at one of our service centres.”

Rivian was seen as the hottest new EV start-up to challenge incumbent Tesla, after a monster initial public offering in November and big-name Wall Street backers and strategic investors like Ford Motor. However, production challenges have sent the shares down 67 per cent this year, though its reaffirmation of a goal of building 25,000 EVs this year helped trim losses.

Last month, Rivian said it was partnering with Mercedes-Benz to build a factory in Europe that will produce electric vans for both companies.

Updated: October 08, 2022, 10:51 AM