Rivian confirmed in the summer of 2021 that it would begin sales in Europe sometime in the first part of 2022. We still don’t know exactly when they plan to start, but one R1T electric pickup was spotted in an airport in Liège, Belgium, strapped to a flatbed, ready for transport.
We don’t know if this R1T was brought into Europe officially by Rivian, or if it’s a private order and import. We are, however, pretty sure this is the first and possibly only R1T on the entire Old Continent, or at least the first documented sighting.
It is suggested in the Rivian Owners Forum thread opened on this topic that the place where it was photographed is relatively close to the headquarters of VDL Nedcar, one of the European companies that Rivian has been in talks with about possibly opening a factory in the Netherlands.
Rumors popped up online late last year that Rivan and VDL Nedcar, which currently builds the BMW X1 and the Mini (hatchback, convertible and Countryman), had begun talks about a possible collaboration. Rivian initially looked at a location near Bristol in the UK (reportedly the same one eyed by Tesla for a possible UK Gigafactory), but the company reportedly decided against it even after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered a “bespoke incentives package” and promised that he would help speed up the planning process.
Sites in two other European countries, Germany and Hungary, were also reportedly considered, and at the time (in November, 2021) the Netherlands were not even mentioned as a possibility.
Rivian’s business model is all about building the vehicles locally for the markets they are destined to serve. The company also wants to eventually expand into China, so we presume it will want to build a manufacturing facility there too, and we will most likely see new models that are better tailored for markets other than North America.
In mid-2021, we also reported that Rivian had trademarked R3S, R4S, R5S, R3T, R4T and R5T as vehicle model names. The company had also previously applied for trademarks for R1C, R1A, R1V, R2C, R2A, R2X and R2R, hinting at a whole slew of potential new models, some of which are quite possibly neither trucks, nor SUVs.