The electric car company Rivian has made a recent adjustment to its purchasing system to provide consumers with delayed customization options as the company’s capacity to satisfy demand is challenged by increased order numbers and supply chain problems.
Customers will no longer be allowed to choose car specifics such as battery pack, exterior paint color, wheels, or extras before making an initial payment for a vehicle order reservation under the new approach. Those options will now be offered only when Rivian is ready for customers to design their car with the available supply stock and price options.
Customers can peruse configurations in the company’s online “Vehicle Studio,” but their selections cannot be saved. If a potential consumer is convinced that they want to purchase a Rivian, even if they don’t know exactly what theirs will look like, they may pay $1,000 to reserve one for delivery in late 2023.
Rivian is facing a lot of difficulties in increasing manufacturing to meet demand despite amassing $11 billion in venture capital funding and including Amazon among its high-profile clients. Only 5,000 of the 90,000 vehicles booked by clients since September 2021 have been constructed as of May 9, 2022, according to the company’s first-quarter earnings call.
The company’s issues are exacerbated by reports that Rivian may lay off up to 700 people and undertake a restructuring while halting several of its operations.
The new approach is a large gamble on Rivian’s client appeal, given its goods are frequently more expensive than those of several major competitors. The R1T pickup vehicle starts at around $80,000, compared to $40,000 for Ford’s new electrified version of the F-150 pickup truck.
Rivian’s leadership is honest about the reasons behind the shift. “This better enables us to handle a big demand backlog while managing inflation and supply chain concerns, car content revisions, and advancements,” said Rachel Maniago.
Maniago did not elaborate on the company’s supply chain concerns, but Rivian stated in April 2022, a month before revealing the new reservation system, that it was challenging to compete with major automakers for semiconductor chips.