There's an old saying that "things are tough all over." It is undoubtedly true if you are Rivian, the electric vehicle maker. Late Friday, the automaker announced a recall of 13,000 EVs. That number is just about the entire production run for the automaker since the first electric rolled off its line in September 2021.
Cause Of The Problem A Loose Fastener
The reason, according to United Press International, is a loose fastener.
The automaker told UPI that it became aware of steering issues caused by an "insufficiently torque fastener." The issue with the fastener is this: the loose fastener can cause excessive wheel camber and, in rare cases, "separation which could increase the risk of a crash … The safety of our customers will always be our top priority, ad we are committed to fixing this issue on any affected vehicles as quickly as possible," Rivian told the news agency in an emailed statement.
The automaker noted in the statement that "it was determined that the cause of the issue was an insufficiently torqued fastener." The automaker noted it had received seven reports related to this issue.
The automaker continued that they will "begin immediately contacting affected customers to schedule appointments for inspections and repairs if needed." Like all recalls through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the repair will be free of charge. The repair should only take a "few minutes to complete."
Automaker Ready For This Recall
According to the Rivian spokesperson's email to UPI, the automaker has "built out the capacity to complete the needed action in as little as 30 days. To date, we are not aware of any injuries that have resulted from this issue."
Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe added in an email to customers that there is a "very small percentage" of repairs that may require parts replacements. If the repair ties up a vehicle, the automaker said it would provide a loaner vehicle to affected owners.
Scaringe noted, "it's important not to minimize the potential risks involved in this recall." He noted in the emailed statement that "if you experience excessive noise, vibration or harshness from the front suspension, or a change in steering performance or feel, you should call immediately." In extreme cases, Rivian noted it is possible that the fastener could detach, causing the problems described.
Rivian has positioned itself as a competitor to Tesla and completed its initial public offerings last year. Ford Motors was a significant investor in those offerings, though it has sold off some of the investment.
Rivian has positioned itself as a major competitor in the electric vehicle field. The automaker sees its primary competition as Tesla. Indeed, pricing for its R1T pickup is $73,000 and for the R1S SUV is $78,000. Its pricing puts it in the Tesla league.
Ford Is A Major Competitor
Ford is a lower-cost competitor to Rivian. Ford offers the all-electric Mustang Mach-E crossover, the F-150 Lightning pickup, and the E-Transit, electric van, though at lower pricing points.
For Rivian, the decision to recall all of its production of the R1T is a blow. The reason is that Rivian has been in an uphill battle to meet its production targets. The automaker had told the investing community that it would make 25,000 EVs by the end of the year. Rivian had maintained that it would meet its goals despite continuing supply chain issues and rising raw materials costs. Both of these issues have also been impacting the auto industry in general. Looking at the actual production numbers since the start of the year, some investors have questioned whether Rivian would meet its goals.
Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971 when an otherwise normal news editor said, "You're our new car editor," and dumped about 27 pounds of auto stuff on my desk. I was in heaven as I have been a gearhead from my early days. As a teen, I spent the usual number of misspent hours hanging out at gas stations Shell and Texaco (a big thing in my youth) and working on cars. From there on, it was a straight line to my first column for the paper, "You Auto Know," an enterprise I handled faithfully for 32 years. Not many people know that I also handled computer documentation for a good part of my living while writing YAN. My best writing, though, was always in cars. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc. You can follow me on: Twitter or Facebook.