Rivian announced on November 20 that CEO RJ Scaringe would take direct control of all product development, effective immediately, as the electric vehicle manufacturer prepares to debut and introduce its new, more affordable vehicle lineup.
According to the company, Nick Kalayjian, the current chief product development officer, will become executive vice president of vehicle engineering and production before transitioning into an advisory role.
Despite industry concerns about an impending downturn in EV demand, Rivian is increasingly manufacturing its flagship R1S sport utility vehicle and R1T pickup truck. The company plans to unveil its R1 cars next year, with production expected in 2026.
According to the EV maker, the software, autonomy, design, vehicle, electrical, propellers, and program categories will be part of the company’s product reporting structure.
In an email to staff, Scaringe stated, “I want to stay as close to the development of our products as possible,” adding that the quality and reliability teams would now answer directly to him. He notes, “As you have heard me say time and time again in our company updates, it is critical that quality plays a central role across our business — this not only drives how our brand is perceived, but it is a major enabler for our continued ramp.”
Earlier this month, Rivian increased its projection for yearly production, placing more faith in the continued demand for its trucks and SUVs than its competitors. The EV segment continues to be a sore spot for most OEMs due to the combined effects of rising inflation, which has stifled consumer demand, and price reductions at market leader Tesla.