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EV startup Rivian gets a $350M investment from Cox Automotive

Roadshow logo Roadshow 9/10/2019 Kyle Hyatt

a car parked on the side of a road: Startup automaker Rivian plans to start selling this R1T pickup truck in fall 2020.

Startup automaker Rivian plans to start selling this R1T pickup truck in fall 2020.
© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.

When it comes to new car companies, we're generally pretty skeptical of their chances of success. It is, after all, really hard to design and build a car from scratch, so when we saw the Rivian R1T and R1S in LA last year, we were cautiously optimistic -- emphasis on the cautious part.

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Still, despite the track record for new companies in this industry, big business has been lining up at Rivian's door to throw money at it -- companies like Fordand Amazon, who together have invested over a billion dollars -- and now Cox Automotive, according to an announcement by Cox on Tuesday.

Who or what is Cox Automotive? It's the parent company of some brands you probably know like Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book, and some that you might not like Manheim. Despite not necessarily being a household name, Cox has surprisingly deep pockets and has decided to draw on them for a $350 million investment in the burgeoning EV (electric vehicle) startup.

What is Cox getting for its money? Kind of a lot, it turns out. Specifically, it's getting a seat on Rivian's board, and Rivian stated that it will work with Cox to "explore opportunities for partnerships in digital retailing, service operations and logistics."

That may sound boring, and you may already have fallen asleep reading it, but for Cox it's a big deal, since a large chunk of its business involves working with car dealers to get them and their listings in front of the eyes of consumers. If it can get even closer to the source of things, even better.

"We are building a Rivian ownership experience that matches the care and consideration that go into our vehicles," said RJ Scaringe, founder and CEO of Rivian, in a statement. "As part of this, we are excited to work with Cox Automotive in delivering a consistent customer experience across our various touchpoints. Cox Automotive's global footprint, service and logistics capabilities, and retail technology platform make them a great partner for us."

a car parked on the side of a road: The owner of Autotrader and KBB just invested $350 million in Rivian.© CNET

The owner of Autotrader and KBB just invested $350 million in Rivian.

Rivian is expecting to have its vehicles start ending up in the hands of its customers sometime in the winter of 2020.

The Rivian R1T might be the electric pickup truck of tomorrow

Update 4:48 p.m.: Added a statement from Rivian.

This was originally published on Roadshow.

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