Tuesday Ticker: Volkswagen to build St. Thomas, Ont. battery plant; Rivian and Amazon reconsider deal

Toronto, Ontario ⁠— In this weekly Tuesday Ticker, we’re covering Volkswagen’s announcement for a Canadian-bound battery plant, plus Rivian’s rumoured reconsideration regarding exclusivity agreements with retail giant Amazon. 

Setting up in St. Thomas

Volkswagen has chosen St. Thomas, Ont. as the site of its first-ever North American battery cell manufacturing plant. 

The company and its in-house subsidiary Powerco will set up shop on 1,500 acres (600 hectares) of land on the northeastern edge of St. Thomas, Ont., halfway between Toronto and Windsor. Production is scheduled to begin in 2027.

Market watchers have anticipated the announcement of VW’s inaugural battery site for months. On August 23, 2022, the Government of Canada and Volkswagen signed a Memorandum of Understanding to further collaborate across a range of sectors in the manufacturing of electric vehicles and batteries and help ensure that Canada is a destination of choice for investments. In December 2022, the OE said Canada was “one logical option” for the plant. 

As of Monday at 12 p.m. ET, Volkswagen shares traded at €130.86 per share (approx. $192.39 CAD), down 3.15 percent from Friday’s close. 

Relationship status: It’s complicated

Amazon and Rivian are in talks to cancel the exclusivity part of the electric-van deal between the companies, Wall Street Journal reported Monday. 

The 2019 agreement between Rivan and Amazon stated that the EV maker was required to sell all of the vans it makes to Amazon. The virtual retail giant notified Rivian it sought 10,000 vans this year⁠—a low number compared to what Amazon had previously communicated to them OEM. 

Rivian reportedly seeks to remove the exclusivity part of its deal so it may sell delivery vans to other customers, but talks are ongoing, reported Wall Street Journal. 

An Amazon spokesperson maintained the company is committed to purchasing 100,000 vans from Rivian by 2030.

“Our relationship with Amazon has always been a positive one,” a Rivian spokesperson told Wall Street Journal. “We continue to work closely  together and are navigating a changing economic climate, similar to many companies.” 

As of 1 p.m. ET Monday, shares of Rivian traded at US$13.56 per share, down 4.13 percent from market open and down 21.76 percent year-to-date.


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