Porsche Cars North America’s former chief executive officer, Kjell Gruner, will reportedly join electric vehicle start-up Rivian in an undisclosed role, according to Automotive News Europe, citing sources familiar with the matter.
Last week, Gruner left Porsche USA “at his own request” after getting the job less than three years ago, steering the German sports car maker’s American business through the pandemic, as well as setting the brand on track to hit a sales record this year, with dealers expected to move 80,000 units next year – an increase of nearly 15 percent compared to 2022.
Before serving as CEO States-side, Gruner was the parent company Porsche AG’s vice president of marketing from 2010 and held the position of director of strategy at Mercedes-Benz Cars before that.
Gallery: Rivian R1T
While it’s unlikely that Porsche USA’s former CEO will replace Rivian founder and head honcho RJ Scaringe, landing a top executive from an iconic name like Porsche would bring prestige to the American EV maker which currently sells the R1T all-electric pickup and R1S zero-emissions SUV, both of which have starting prices of over $70,000, putting them in the upper part of the market.
"Having a seasoned automotive veteran with intimate knowledge of selling high-end products will do wonders for the brand," said Ivan Drury, Edmunds' insights director for Automotive News.
In a LinkedIn post announcing his departure from Porsche, Kjell Gruner said that even though he had a great team, a great brand, and great products while he was working at the German marque, there’s sometimes a new mountain to climb, referring to the possibility of embarking on a harder-than-ever career path.
If the report turns out to be true, Porsche USA’s former top executive will probably have his hands full at Rivian, seeing how the California-based EV manufacturer is burning through billions of dollars as it’s working to launch the new R2 vehicle platform, as well as laying the foundation for a second assembly facility near Atlanta, which will complement the current plant in Normal, Illinois.
The maker of the R1T, R1S, and Amazon Electric Delivery Van (EDV) posted a loss of $1.35 billion in the first quarter of this year while revenue amounted to $661 million.
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