Whatever the collaboration between Lincoln and Rivian was going to be, we’ll never see it. The project, which was only announced back in January, is reportedly dead in the water. At least for now.
According to Autonews.com, the initiative is being scrapped due to the global pandemic. There’s no word on whether Lincoln and Rivian will attempt to revive it when things get back to normal. The vehicle was probably going to be an all-electric SUV with Lincoln branding. It would have been Lincoln’s first model to be powered by only batteries.
Lincoln informed its dealers of the decision Tuesday. Officials said the brand still planned to have its own EV eventually and could potentially co-develop a product with Rivian in the future but shelved the project because of the “current environment.”
Although the pandemic has delayed numerous vehicles currently in development, including the upcoming Ford Bronco Sport crossover, this appears to be the first announcement of a vehicle cancellation in the U.S. attributed to the crisis.
Rivian is an auto startup company that has attracted millions in funding based on their promise of an all-electric pick-up truck. They are probably why Tesla decided to throw their hat into the truck game with the Cybertruck. However, with businesses and economies around the world currently closed, the Rivian/Lincoln project is just one of many to get squeezed out.
As Jalopnik points out, developing a new model is a considerable expense. It can cost around a billion dollars, and that’s before a single car is sold. Right now, automakers feel it’s better to focus on existing brands. After all, it costs much less to make a few small changes to the Honda Civic or Ford Escape and slap a “2021 model” sticker on it.
If you were one of those people interesting in eventually driving a luxury electric SUV from Lincoln, don’t fret. There’s still a small amount of hope. In a statement from Lincoln, they left the door open to resume the project at a later date.
“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. They also mentioned remaining committed to their partnership with Rivian.
Like all automakers, Lincoln will eventually have no choice but to release an all-electric model. It’s the way of the future, like it or not. Ford has already invested a ton of cash into EV technology. Since Lincoln is merely a luxury brand under parent company Ford, it’s inevitable.