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WGLT, an NPR station in central Illinois, is following every move at the Rivian manufacturing plant in Normal, Illinois. The electric vehicle startup has gone from stealth mode to big-time player in the auto world, attracting attention (and big money) from companies like Ford and Amazon.

Rivian Investment Tally Nears $1.7 Billion This Year

Rivian plant from the sky
Rivian Automotive has announced a third major infusion of capital this year.

Rivian has attracted another large investment, this time $350 million from Cox Automotive.

Rivian operates the old Mitsubishi plant in Normal and is planning to bring two vehicles to the marketplace late next year.

Rivian said in a news release Cox’s involvement will focus on service, digital retailing, and logistics.

Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe said his company wants to build an ownership experience that matches the care that goes into the vehicles themselves.

“As part of this, we are excited to work with Cox Automotive in delivering a consistent customer experience across our various touchpoints. Cox Automotive’s global footprint, service and logistics capabilities, and retail technology platform make them a great partner for us, said Scaringe.

Cox is a $20 billion global company that owns Kelly Bluebook, Autotrader, transport and auction services, and other companies.

“With the electrification of vehicles set to play a significant role in the new mobility future, this partnership opens another channel of discovery and learning for Cox Automotive,” said Joe George, president of Cox Automotive Mobility Group. “Advancements in battery technology and the electrification of fleets are two of our primary focus areas, and we believe this relationship will prove to be mutually beneficial.”

Cox will add a representative to Rivian’s board.

This is the third major investment this year in the startup electric automaker. Amazon and other investors put $700 million into Rivian in February. And in April Ford went public with a $500 million investment.

Rivian has maintained it would like to remain an independent company but is forming partnerships based on expertise and investor desire to use the Rivian "skateboard" platform that includes a chassis and battery assembly.

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WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.
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