Rivian canceled the entry-level R1T, raising the price of its base electric model by more than $6,000, according to an online customer forum and later confirmed by the company.
The company said in an email to customers that it was canceling the base model “Explore,” which started at $67,500, in favor of the $73,000 “Adventure” version. Customers can upgrade to the more expensive trim level or cancel their orders, the company advised. Rivian is also “discontinued” the cheaper version for its R1S electric SUV, which is expected to ship to customers later this year.
In an email to pre-order holders, a copy of which has been shared with The edge by Rivian spokesman Tanya Miller, the company says it has made the decision to no longer offer the Explore package so it can “provide as many vehicles as possible.”
The email says that by focusing on the Adventure Gear Pack, Rivian will “streamline” its supply chain and make more vehicles. In its most recent earnings report, the company reported delivery of 4,467 vehicles and reiterated its goal to build 25,000 this year.
If customers choose to upgrade to the Adventure model, the price increase will be determined at the time they place their order. If they cancel their pre-order, they will get their deposit back. The company explains that “only a small percentage of customers” had ordered the Explore model.
A customer on the Rivian Owners Forum says they were “totally furious and at the same time disappointed” when they received the email, explaining that upgrading to the more expensive truck would add nearly $8,000 to the price tag.
This isn’t the first time Rivian pre-orderers have been upset about a price increase. In March, the company increased the estimated prices of its vehicles by up to 20 percent, reflecting some pre-order holders being told their trucks would be $10,000 or $20,000 more expensive. But after an uproar, the company withdrew the price increase a day later, apologizing to customers. Now the company has managed to more or less increase the entry-level price of the R1T and R1S by about $5,500 and $6,000 respectively.
According to Miller, there have been no deliveries of Explore packages to date. There’s a precedent for announcing electric vehicles at a price that most customers won’t actually pay — Tesla originally announced the Model 3 would start at $35,000, but it proved extremely difficult to get the EV at that price. and Tesla eventually stopped offering it.
Rivian has been dealing with financial storms recently. Last month, it laid off 6 percent of its employees and reported a net loss of $1.71 billion for the second quarter of 2022.
Earlier this month, Ford announced that the price of its electric pickup, the F-150 Lightning, would increase by $7,000 across all trim levels when it goes back on sale.
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