Orange County, CA: The Hub for Design Operations of Auto Manufacturers

Nov 11, 2021


Orange County, CA: The Hub for Design Operations of Auto Manufacturers

Have you ever wondered why so many automakers base their headquarters in Orange County? Even startup EV maker Rivian has planted its roots here. Here's a look at factors that have made Orange County a significant hub of the automotive industry.

Why Irvine Attracts Auto Designers

Major automaker Ford Motor Co. has its regional headquarters and design center in Irvine. This site became the county's first LEED-certified building, constructed with eco-friendly materials. Nice weather and a business-friendly climate are key reasons why Orange County is favored as a place for creative development.

Automaker Headquarters in Irvine

The following automakers have either their headquarters, corporate offices, or design centers in Irvine, employing thousands of highly-paid experts:
  • Ford
  • Karma
  • Kia
  • Neuron EV
  • Mazda
  • Lexus
  • Mercedes-Benz Daimler
  • Hyundai
  • Rivian
  • Toyota
  • Volvo

How Orange County Compares with Tesla for EV Development

Tesla has moved its main headquarters to Texas, but the EV maker remains in Northern California and Northern Nevada for certain operations. Its automotive plant is in Fremont, and its Gigafactory for power storage innovation is in Sparks, Nevada.

Another manufacturing plant in Lathrop, California called Megafactory develops its popular energy storage product called Megapack, which CEO/Founder Elon Musk says is sold out through 2022. Musk calls it the "future of green energy." The Megapack is a large battery that provides a few days' worth of electric power when integrated with solar panels.

While Tesla was talking about a future electric pickup truck, Rivian has emerged as the first company to announce one for the consumer market. Rivian also plans to sell electric SUVs. Tesla got a headstart on funding over a decade ago, as it has tapped into trillion-dollar valuations in the 2020-2021 period.

Meanwhile, Rivian has already quickly become a multi-billion dollar investment for its big investors. The company has raised over $3 billion in funding from large corporations since it was founded in 2009. Ford and Cox Automotive are some of the top investors in Rivian, along with tech giant Amazon and investment firm T. Rowe Price.

Arrival of Rivian in Irvine

Even though Rivian is based in Michigan, the automaker is expanding its operations in Irvine, according to the Orange County Business Journal. Its main complex in Irvine covers 20,000 square feet, located in the Spectrum community. Its sites in Irvine, Carson, and Los Angeles are used by integration engineers, battery, inverter developers, and concept designers.

Rivian has promoted the development of its new 190,000 square foot facility on its website. The startup's first two products will be the R1T truck and the R1S SUV.

Transportation is evolving rapidly in the 2020s, and EVs begin to populate the streets while reducing adverse effects on the environment and improving the bottom line. Contact us here at MDS for more details on how to achieve sustainability through more modern and efficient delivery services.