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Rivian apologizes for ‘broken trust’ and axes preorder price increases that hit as much as $20K

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Updated pricing estimates would’ve charged customers up to $20K more than they were originally quoted

Photo by Mitchell Clark / The Verge

This week, Rivian updated the price estimates for its R1T electric pickup and R1S electric SUV, informing people that they could cost as much as $20,000 more than the original quotes, depending on the package they’d ordered. Fans who put down $1,000 to get in line for trucks years before they were built were outraged by the change, which Rivian attributed to inflationary pressure and supply chain problems.

Today, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe wrote customers, admitting that “we wrongly decided to make these changes apply to all future deliveries, including pre-existing configured preorders” and says that instead, Rivian will honor the “original configured price” for all preorders placed prior to March 1st.

We failed to appreciate how you viewed your configuration as price locked, and we wrongly assumed the announced Dual-Motor and Standard battery pack would provide configurations that would deliver price points similar to your original configuration. While this was the logic, it was wrong and we broke your trust in Rivian.

For anyone with a Rivian preorder as of the March 1 pricing announcement, your original configured price will be honored. If you canceled your preorder on or after March 1 and would like to reinstate it, we will restore your original configuration, pricing and delivery timing. Our team will be sending an email in the next few days with more details.

Scaringe’s letter also went into more detail about the reasons for the new pricing, saying that with costs for components going up as much as 30 percent, the new levels are set for the present and the future. However, he says, “In speaking with many of you over the last two days, I fully realize and acknowledge how upset many of you felt. I have made a lot of mistakes since starting Rivian more than 12 years ago, but this one has been the most painful. I am truly sorry and committed to rebuilding your trust.”

As mentioned above, even people who canceled their preorders due to the changes will apparently be able to get back in line if they’re still interested, and the reactions on social media suggest many are. On that front, Rivian may benefit as much from the usual excitement of early adopters as the lack of other options. Trying to order a competing electric truck is more theoretical than realistic. While GMC says it will begin deliveries of the Hummer EV 3X later this year (Edition 1 launch models are sold out) and is still taking orders, Ford has closed reservations for the F-150 Lightning, and Tesla’s Cybertruck is already off the table until 2023.