I agree that these price increases are extraordinarily high. Having said that, I don't think the reservation system has zero value to the customer. It should create a priority list of who gets the vehicle first, and that has value when vehicles are selling out quickly. If someone is putting down a reservation on a new, unreleased vehicle model, they're really identifying themselves as early adopters; the value of the reservation is holding their place in line. It's different from putting down a reservation on an existing vehicle in production, like placing an order for current model Chevy Blazer or something like that.
Every time I complain there's a chorus of little reasons and carve outs and they're all perfectly reasonable, the problem is when taken together as a whole, pretty much 100% of reservations for non-Tesla EVs have involved some level of missed consumer expectations that are completely within the manufacturer/dealership control for price and prioritization. My continued thought on this also addressed SGW.:
I think what you are referring to is a deposit. If the “reservation” is fully refundable, there is no skin in the game for the manufacturer OR the customer. Lots of folks on this forum tout having 3-4 reservations…they aren’t buying 3-4 cars. I would be disappointed, personally, but the problem is there is someone else willing to pay it, so they get the car. The only recourse for this, IMO, is for the market to say, “nah, I’ll pass” and I don’t see that happening.
I can have 3-4 deposits on ordered cars that are fully refundable as well. The flexibility to do that comes down to the dealership networks in most cases and is ruled by their current level of demand for the car.
Tying both above thoughts together, Tesla is the problem. Tesla has actually somewhat reasonably been using the system to their advantage while trying to maintain customer satisfaction to the best of their ability. When Elon Musk promised a $35,000 Tesla he went through crazy lengths even after it was obvious he didn't have the manufacturing lines to follow through with the promise for a less-produced, budget model and those fiscal realities hit really hard. He even went so far as to offer those off-menu models they bespoke built and de-contented specifically to fulfill the promise.
That specific model 3 example and a few other Tesla pre-order examples where customers were a bit peeved but ultimately accepted the outcome because the original promises were unreasonable and great lengths were taken to attempt to fulfill the orginal promises.
The rest of the industry has noticed and literally every single reservation I've had on every single car, most of which I actually had the intention of buying, have had the rug pulled from underneath me from huge manufacturers who can afford to actually fulfill their promises. It's greed and exploitation and it's BS.
Rivian can absolutely deliver current R1S and R1Ts at previously advertised prices or they wouldn't have had the IPO they had. Costs have not increased that much. What happened is the price of the stock has gone up since, insanely so, and now they're trying to dial back in profits that can't reasonably exist in 10 years based on the business plan they had going in with the IPO. They're not going to go belly up, they didn't work their asses off to keep a promise. They saw an opportunity to keep their stock performing at current levels and took it.
Ford dealerships, Hyundai dealerships, Rivian, Kia, does the list end? Who since the Model 3 SR has reasonably honored their high demand reservations? I think the answer is no one. Literal no one in the US market. The Bolt/Kona/M3 generation was the last honest generation of EV car purchases.