NORMAL (HOI) - Electric vehicle maker Rivian confirmed on Thursday it's looking for a site to build an additional manufacturing facility, but the company and Normal's mayor said the local factory is the springboard for Rivian's growth.
"Normal is launching pad and a cornerstone for Rivian's strategy and development for decades to come," said Zach Dietmeier, Rivian's senior manager of plant communications.
Dietmeier was responding to a Reuters news service report that Rivian is planning a second U.S. assembly plant to include battery cell production. Multiple U.S. states have bid for the factory, and ground will be broken early next year, according to the Reuters report.
"We continue to work with the Town of Normal and other regional partners on future local expansion plans," said Dietmeier said to Heart of Illinois-ABC in a prepared statement.
"Our second manufacturing project is in addition to our plans in Central Illinois," said Dietmeier.
"There is no replacement or reduction whatsoever for the scope of our Normal campus," he added.
Normal Mayor Chris Koos told HOIABC that Rivian's plans are "incredibly good news for our community."
"Rivian continues to grow and thrive, and we are proud to be kind of ground zero for this," the mayor said in a prepared statement.
"Their vision and culture aligns with ours as a community. I couldn't be happier for them," Mayor Koos said.
Rivian has the financial backing of Amazon and other investors. The company's growth plans continue even as it delayed deliveries of its R1T pickup trucks due to what founder and CEO RJ Scaringe described to customers as the "cascading impacts of the pandemic."
Rivian acquired the shuttered Mitsubishi car plant in 2017.
Currently, there are 2,232 full-time and more than 7,000 total employees at the factory in west Normal, said Dietmeier. About 3,000 full-timers will work there by the end of 2022, Dietmeier also said.