Volkswagen And Rivian Will Work Together On EVs

Photo: Amber DaSilva / Jalopnik
Photo: Amber DaSilva / Jalopnik

Happy Tuesday! It’s June 26, 2024, and this is The Morning Shift, your daily roundup of the top automotive headlines from around the world, in one place. Here are the important stories you need to know.

1st Gear: Volkswagen And Rivian Are Collaborating On EVs

Rivian makes very good electric cars. The company’s primary problem thus far has been that it’s not been great at making that other car company thing: Money. Now, with an influx of German cash in exchange for parts-sharing, the company is hoping to turn it around. From Reuters:

German automaker Volkswagen Group will invest up to $5 billion in U.S. electric-vehicle maker Rivian as part of a new, equally controlled joint venture to share EV architecture and software, the companies said on Tuesday.


The investment will provide Rivian the funding necessary to develop its less expensive and smaller R2 SUVs that are set to roll out in early 2026 and its planned R3 crossovers, CEO RJ Scaringe told Reuters. Moreover, the partnership will enable Rivian to cut operating costs by leveraging volumes of supplies including chips and components, he said

It will also help Rivian, known for its flagship R1S SUVs and R1T pickups, turn cashflow positive. The company will license its existing intellectual property to the JV, and the R2 will be the first vehicle using software from the JV. Volkswagen vehicles, including its Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley brands, will follow.


Seeing Rivians with Porsche or Lamborghini badges would be very funny, but we’re more likely going to get unique VAG vehicles built using Rivian tech. Still, though, can you picture a Lambo-badged R1T?

2nd Gear: Cruise Is Trying Robotaxis Again With A New CEO

Last time robotaxi company Cruise tried to do robotaxis, the company ended up pinning a woman to the ground and dragging her under a Chevy Bolt. The company’s CEO resigned in the wake of that incident, and now there’s a new CEO who hopes to do robotaxis better. By running people over less often, hopefully. From Automotive News:

General Motors’ Cruise robotaxi unit has hired Marc Whitten, formerly of Amazon and Microsoft’s Xbox video game platform, to be its new CEO as the company works to relaunch autonomous driving in the wake of an October crash involving one of its vehicles.


“In a few years, transportation will be fundamentally safer and more accessible than it is today, creating much more value for individuals and communities around the world. It is an opportunity of a lifetime to be part of this transformation,” Whitten said in a statement June 25. “The team at Cruise has built world-class technology, and I look forward to working with them to help bring this critical mission to life.”

Whitten seems convinced that robotaxis are an inevitability, but I don’t think that’s entirely been proven as of yet. We could go wild — get robotaxis that can carry tons of people between their destinations, with set stops every few blocks.

3rd Gear: CDK Is Already Facing Lawsuits Over Cyberattack

CDK’s whole cyberattack situation doesn’t seem to be wrapping up nearly as quickly as the company would like. Now, the company has a new thorn to deal with: Users concerned that their data may have been unlawfully accessed. From Automotive News:

A dealership customer and a former auto retail employee have sued CDK Global in connection with the cyberattacks experienced by the dealership management system provider.


The lawsuits filed June 24 by former dealership employee Eugene Buraga and June 22 by vehicle lessee Yuriy Loginov, both in the U.S. Northern District of Illinois, each seek class-action status.

Loginov, a Florida resident, defined the class as anyone in the U.S. whose private information was “compromised,” while Buraga, a San Francisco resident, defined it as anyone in the U.S. whose information was “exposed to unauthorized third parties” from the breach.

CDK’s description of the attack as a “cyber ransom event” sure does imply that customer data was involved — ransomware attacks generally involve malicious actors remotely encrypting corporate data and charging a fee to restore the company’s access. It’s possible attackers could have gotten hold of private information as well, to sell off on the side.

4th Gear: It’s A Big Day For Airbag Recalls

I hope you weren’t planning on crashing any time soon. Both Toyota and Volkswagen issued massive airbag recalls today, affecting hundreds of vehicles each. From Reuters:

Toyota is recalling 145,254 vehicles in the U.S. over side curtain airbags that may deploy improperly, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on Wednesday.

In the event of a crash, a side curtain airbag provides a barrier that helps prevent the ejection of the car’s occupant.

However, the NHTSA said that in some Toyota vehicles, the driver’s side curtain airbag may not unroll as intended and could partially deploy outside of an open window.

The recall affects certain 2024 SUVs and hybrids such as Toyota Grand Highlander, Grand Highlander Hybrid, Lexus TX350, TX500 Hybrid and TX550 Hybrid+ vehicles.

And if you thought 145,000 vehicles was bad, check out what Volkswagen’s dealing with, also from Reuters:

Volkswagen is recalling over 271,000 vehicles in the United States due to a potential wiring fault that may deactivate front passenger air bags when the seat is occupied, the U.S. auto safety regulator said on Wednesday.

The recall affects the German automaker’s certain 2021-2024 Atlas and 2020-2024 Atlas Cross Sport vehicles where the passenger occupant detection system (PODS) may experience a fault in the wiring and affect front passenger air bags.


The company’s dealers will replace the PODS sensor mat and wiring harness, free of charge for affected customers, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said.

Until the recall repair has been performed, the regulator advised affected vehicle owners to avoid the use of the front passenger seat whenever possible.

Best course of action: Try not to need your airbags for a little bit. I know you were really excited to go crashing, but just hold off for a little bit longer.

Reverse: Good Thing No Modern Supreme Court Decisions Have Explicitly Asked For Attacks Against Obergefell So This Can Be Overturned

Hey, wait, this sounds familiar.

On The Radio: Caroline Polachek - “Starburned and Unkissed”

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