Volkswagen’s Cariad Snags Top Engineers from Rivian in Talent Grab


Volkswagen Group’s struggling software arm, Cariad, has made a significant move to bolster its talent pool by hiring at least 23 top employees from Rivian, a startup electric vehicle manufacturer, over the past several months. According to a review of LinkedIn data, Cariad’s chief software officer, chief product security officer, two vice presidents, and two principal engineers have all been hired from Rivian.

The hires pre-date the announcement of the $5 billion partnership between VW Group and Rivian, which is still being formed and is expected to be formalized in the fourth quarter. The joint venture aims to leverage Rivian’s software and electrical architecture expertise.

The wave of new hires has strengthened Cariad’s efforts to build up its Silicon Valley outpost, the SDV Hub, which is focused on developing next-generation software architecture known as “software 2.0.” The hub is led by Sanjay Lal, who previously led the development of Rivian’s infotainment and next-gen middleware.

The focus of the engineers at the SDV hub is on the software 2.0 architecture, which is designed to be an operating system for all VW Group brands. The hub currently has around 230 employees, with the recent Rivian expats making up around 10% of Cariad’s employee base in the region.

The hires come as Cariad is in the midst of restructuring after years of struggles. The company was created in 2020 to speed up the development of advanced software and electrical architecture for Volkswagen Group’s push into electric vehicles. However, the company has faced delays and executive shakeups, leading to the departure of its CEO in 2022.

Cariad is now under the direction of Peter Bosch and has successfully completed its 1.2 software architecture, which will be used in the upcoming Porsche Macan EV. The company is now focused on developing its 2.0 architecture, which is meant to catapult all of the group’s brands into the same sphere as Tesla.

The move by Cariad to tap talent from Rivian is a significant shift from its previous approach to building out its North American workforce. Prior to the recent hires, most Cariad employees in the region came from other places within the Volkswagen Group or from automotive or software suppliers.

VW and Cariad are not the only ones looking to startups like Rivian to build out talent. Ford’s own secretive low-cost EV project has been snapping up workers from Rivian, Tesla, Lucid Motors and even Apple’s disbanded Project Titan.

Kirsten Korosec
Kirsten Korosec
Senior Reporter & Editor. Kirsten specializes in transportation/autos and technology. She also likes numbers.

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