ATLANTA — Rivian, the electric- truck startup that keeps attracting support from the industry establishment, is looking to offer a subscription service as part of its factory-direct retail model after it launches next year, its CEO said here last week.
Subscriptions have emerged as a new model in the luxury sector to give customers access to a range of vehicles for a monthly fee.
"We talk about inflection points, and this is one that allows us to interact in different ways with the customer," Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe said. "You may use one solution to get to and from the office during the week. But on the weekend, you may want a subscription program."
The concept has been pioneered, with mixed results, by other automakers, including Cadillac, Volvo and Mercedes-Benz. The high-end nature of its early proponents has led many to perceive the concept as a program for wealthy consumers.
"As we think about how you consume miles, 96 percent of the miles in the United States are consumed through ownership. But we see that changing," Scaringe told a private industry audience at the headquarters of one of its key new investors, Cox Automotive. "Not just on the moderate price side, but also on the premium side, on the aspirational side. And we see those worlds living together in a meaningful way."
The company plans to produce a number of electric vehicle models at its plant in Normal, Ill., and sell them directly to customers without a traditional franchised dealer network, Scaringe said.
"From a sales and retail point of view, it's a direct-sales model," Scaringe told the audience, which included auto retailers and automaker executives.
"Core for us is maintaining direct ownership of our customers, which means it's a direct-sales model. But that doesn't mean we don't have partners that are working on the back end, running and maintaining and operating that ecosystem."