Supply chain issues, unprecedented price increases and electric trucks are only some of the unexpected trends disrupting the automotive industry right now. Another is the pre-order, or reservation system for new cars. Shoppers can pre-order a car with their desired specifications from the manufacturer, track its custom build and then pick it up at a local dealership. This model was pioneered by Tesla and Rivian, but it’s now being adopted by traditional OEMs such as Ford for its upcoming electric line. We discuss more pros and cons of the pre-order model here.
Amongst EV enthusiasts, we’ve heard of many people who have reserved multiple upcoming vehicles because they are all so exciting. On our own team, we have overlapping truck reservations for the Rivian R1T, Tesla Cybertruck and Ford F-150 Lightning, as well as car reservations for Volkswagen ID.4 / Hyundai Ioniq 5. But, we’re scientists, and we need data to see how prevalent these overlaps are.
Some interesting stories emerge from the data, and we will be sure to update them as we get more data points and as some of these vehicles begin to hit the road:
Refundable reservation deposits make it easier to keep options open. One shopper has pre-ordered the GMC Hummer EV, a BMW iX, the Chevrolet Silverado, the Nissan Ariya and the VW ID.4, but they only plan to take delivery of the BMW. How common is this sort of reservation frenzy? It depends on the vehicle, with more shoppers overlapping reservations for cars that have longer wait times.
Truck buyers are hedging their bets with multiple reservations. There’s clearly a lot of over-ordering happening here, as no one is sure who is going to actually deliver these yet-untested trucks. 100% of Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado reservations overlap with another vehicle reservation, and about 89% of Tesla Cybertruck reservations overlap with another truck order.
More electric car models allow shoppers to be selective. While pre-orders for electric trucks tend to overlap across multiple new offerings, there are more standalone reservations for cars like the Subaru Solterra, Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5. These shoppers want the car they ordered and are reserving their place in line to buy it.
Tesla brand loyalty runs deep. Recurrent found that many homes have gone all-in on Tesla. Around 50% of those who have reserved both a Tesla Cybertruck and a Tesla car model plan to redeem both.
Tesla reservations do not overlap with other brands. If you’ve reserved a Ford F-150, Rivian or Chevy Silverado, chances are good that you may also have reserved a Tesla Cybertruck. But, if you’re interested in any of the new, non-truck options on this list, there is virtually no overlap with the Tesla brand. There is a clear chasm between non-Tesla cars and Tesla reservations.
As we see it, here’s the reservation landscape as of June 2022:
Do these observations line up with your experience?
Liz is an atmospheric scientist working to decarbonize the transportation industry. Her work with Recurrent demystifies electric vehicles and makes them accessible and transparent to a wider group of drivers. Liz loves to talk about cutting-edge battery technology, energy storage, battery second life, and policy, but as a New Yorker, Liz’s ride is the subway.