Rivian ditches its cheapest trim level due to low customer demand - TechCrunch

Rivian is discontinuing the cheapest trim level of its all-electric truck and SUV, known as the Explore package, due to low demand, according to emails sent this week to customers.

The company said in the email, which was first cited in Rivian Owners Forum, that customers with a pre-order for the Explore package will need to reconfigure to Adventure equipment by September 1 or their pre-order will be cancelled. Rivian also released information about it customer support page this explains why it canceled the package and what the customers’ options are.

For customers who pre-ordered the Explore kit, the change means an increase of about $5,500. The base Adventure package, which includes dual motors and a standard battery that provides more than 260 miles of range, starts at $73,000.

“In order to deliver as many vehicles as possible, we have made the decision to discontinue the Explore package. We realize this news is unexpected and apologize for the way it affects your plans,” the email said.

Several customers on the forum expressed their anger at the changes. It’s unclear whether Rivian will lose existing customers due to the change. Although there is a reported backlog of orders, this may not matter. As of June 30, 2022, Rivian’s net pre-orders for the R1 were about 98,000 from users in the US and Canada, according to second quarter letter to shareholders.

The company initially launched its R1T truck and R1S SUV with two packages. The Explore was intended as the entry-level package, and the Adventure was the higher-priced trim that offered more features.

Rivian said in the email that it expects a large number of customers to choose Explore. Turns out they’re not.

“To date, only a small percentage of customers have chosen this configuration, with the majority choosing the Adventure trim. By focusing on the Adventure equipment package, we are able to streamline our supply chain and ultimately deliver vehicles faster,” the email stated.

This year, Rivian made other price changes that caused temporary outrage among customers.

In March 2022 Rivian raised the price from its R1T pickup truck by 17% and the R1S SUV by about 20% in an effort to adjust to inflationary pressures, increases in the cost of raw materials and parts, and continued chip shortages. These price increases initially include customers who have made deposits.

CEO RJ Scaringe rejected these plans after public backlash and issued a press release promising customers who pre-ordered one of the two vehicles before March 1 that their original price would be honored. It also offered to refund all pre-orders from customers who canceled as a result of the planned change.

This price change was supposed to be part of Rivian’s broader plan to introduce a new dual-engine version of the truck and SUV in 2024. This new powertrain includes engines designed and manufactured by Rivian.

The company first introduced the R1T and R1S in 2018 as all-wheel-drive EVs equipped with a four-motor system that boosted power and torque and helped the startup stand out. The base price of the four-engine R1T and R1S was originally $67,500 and $70,000, respectively.

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