Aug 11, 2022 - Business

Arrival lays off dozens in Charlotte amid company-wide restructuring

Arrival van

Photo courtesy of Arrival

British electric vehicle maker Arrival laid off 35 employees in Charlotte across all departments as the company undergoes cost-saving restructuring.

What’s happening: In an earnings call Thursday morning, Arrival executives confirmed the company is delaying the start of its EV van production in Charlotte to 2023.

The original plan was to open a microfactory in west Charlotte in late 2022. There, Arrival has said it’d produce 10,000 zero-emission vans per year.

  • Arrival also established a North American headquarters in South End. And last December, Arrival announced plans for a battery assembly plant off Yorkmount Road.
  • The company now employs about 60 in the Charlotte region, down from 95 previously.

Arrival is delaying production in Charlotte because it “reduces our near-term cash spend,” Arrival president Avinash Rugoobur said during the call.

  • Further, delaying locally allows the company to take advantage of the lessons it learned at Bicester, a U.K. city where it also has a microfactory producing EV vans, “to further reduce both capital and operational spending.”

What they’re saying: “We also want to reiterate that the U.S. and Charlotte remain a key market to us and we want to reaffirm our commitment to launching and producing our vehicles there,” spokesperson Rana Khatun told Axios.

Why it matters: Arrival’s announcement to establish a major presence in Charlotte came as the city and businesses work to reduce their carbon footprints. Its decision to scale back globally reflects ongoing macroeconomic challenges facing all businesses.

Zoom out: Last month, Arrival confirmed it is slashing 30% of its entire workforce, as TechCrunch reported. These local layoffs are part of that broader restructuring.

  • The company pointed to economic headwinds such as supply chain issues, the pandemic, geopolitical tensions and rising inflation, per TechCrunch.

Rock Hill: In late 2020, Arrival announced plans to open a microfactory in Rock Hill, where it’ll produce 1,000 electric buses per year.

  • This summer, the company said it is indefinitely postponing plans for its electric bus production, as CBJ reported.
  • On Thursday, Arrival said it is deferring any further investment in its bus program while they secure additional capital.

Yes, but: Executives say they’re optimistic about the Inflation Reduction Act, which will expand credits for electric vehicles like the kind Arrival makes.

“We are on the brink of witnessing historic investments into vehicle electrification, including a new commercial EV tax credit,” Rugoobur said.

Editor’s note: We updated this story with additional details from Arrival’s earnings call.

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