A Lincoln electric SUV based on Rivian's "skateboard" chassis, and intended to be built at the startup's Illinois factory, has been cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The news was first reported by Automotive News, and subsequently confirmed by Lincoln and Rivian to Green Car Reports.
Stay-at-home orders and an imploding economy are expected to negatively impact vehicle production and sales, forcing some automakers to delay new models, but this is likely the first vehicle to be outright cancelled due to the pandemic.
"Given the current environment, Lincoln and Rivian have decided not to pursue the development of a fully electric vehicle based on Rivian's skateboard platform. Our strategic commitment to Lincoln, Rivian, and electrification remains unchanged and Lincoln's future plans will include an all-electric vehicle consistent with its Quiet Flight DNA," Lincoln said in a statement, emphasizing that it will continue to work with Rivian.
"Our partnership with Rivian is strong. Our strategic commitment remains unchanged and the company continues to work with Rivian on an alternative vehicle based on Rivian's skateboard platform."
The original project was thought to be related to the Rivian R1S seven-seat SUV, but with a completely different design.
Lincoln is still expected to get an "elegant" version of the Ford Mustang Mach-E—a smaller vehicle than the Rivian was slated to be—which is more flexible in volume and may not require the level of commitment the Rivian project did.
Rivian told Green Car Reports that it still plans to co-develop a vehicle with Ford, which invested $500 million in the company in 2019. That funding has helped get Rivian's own R1S and R1T pickup truck ready for production.
Rivian reported a delay in the launch of the R1T and R1S earlier this month, resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
Cancelling the Lincoln project could free Rivian up to produce more of its own trucks, or to launch a completely different kind of vehicle with Ford and Lincoln.
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