Electric cars: Mercedes cooperates with Rivian

Et is a spectacular cooperation between two very different partners: the long-established Mercedes-Benz group from Stuttgart, which, like most manufacturers, relies heavily on electromobility, is entering into a strategic partnership with the American electric car start-up Rivian a. The companies announced this on Thursday. Specifically, it should be about the joint production of large electric delivery vans, as Mathias Geisen said in a video conference with journalists. Since the beginning of the year, Geisen has headed the van division of Mercedes-Benz, in which the group has bundled the business with vans such as the Mercedes Sprinter and motorhomes.

The two partners want to set up a new vehicle plant for large vans, in which both Mercedes and Rivian vehicles will roll off the assembly line. For cost reasons, various existing Mercedes locations in Central and Eastern Europe are under discussion, said Geisen. However, the two German Transporter plants in Düsseldorf and Ludwigsfelde are not included. We are still sticking to them and are not planning any downsizing there.

Negotiations with the possible locations for the new plant were ongoing, said Geisen. The manager did not reveal which places these were. It was also agreed with Rivian not to disclose the investment sum. The conversion of the plant in Düsseldorf, which will also produce electric Mercedes models in the future, will cost around 400 million euros. The investment sum can be derived from this. It is also still unclear when the jointly produced cars will be on the roads. Start of production for the new electric van platform from Mercedes should be in 2025. In the following years, the joint production with Rivian should start.

Van division to become more profitable

With sales of 7.8 billion euros in the first half of the year, the van division accounted for a good tenth of the entire Mercedes group, but with an adjusted return on sales of 11 percent it is significantly less profitable than the car division. Mercedes CEO Ola Källenius trims the company much more towards margins than its predecessor Dieter Zetsche, who focused more on mass, i.e. wanted to sell more vehicles.

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