Sat. May 28th, 2022

Rivian is quickly backtracking on its steep EV price hikes. The Verge reports Rivian has reversed the price increases for R1T pickup and R1S SUV pre-order customers. Anyone who ordered one of the vehicles before March 1st will pay the original prices, and those who canceled orders in response can reinstate their orders without affecting their prices or delivery timing. Orders for affected configurations made from March 1st onward will still cost more.

Company chief RJ Scaringe said the higher prices “broke the trust” of customers, and that the automaker didn’t properly communicate the reasons for the hikes. While the new prices were meant to reflect higher manufacturing costs (hence maintaining prices for new buyers), Rivian “wrongly” applied those increases to existing customers, according to Scaringe. It also incorrectly presumed customers wouldn’t mind buying the lower-end dual-motor and standard battery models if the quad-motor option was suddenly too expensive.

The price change angered more than a few customers. Quad-motor buyers faced prices between $ 12,000 to $ 20,000 above what they’d expected. Some accused Rivian of bait-and-switch tactics, while others canceled (or threatened to cancel) orders in response. Tesla, a key competitor, has historically honored pre-order prices regardless of any changes between the order and delivery.

The incident is poorly timed, at least. Rivian is still in the early stages of ramping up R1T deliveries, and has yet to fulfill R1S orders. The automaker’s reputation is still young and delicate – it risks driving business to Tesla, Ford and others with comparable EVs. While reversing the price hike will likely be painful to Rivian, it might be worthwhile if it fosters goodwill and leads to more sales in the long run.

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