Faraday Future, the automotive industry’s biggest secret, finally unveiled its highly-anticipated flagship electric car: the FF 91. The vehicle has become somewhat of a marvel in the automotive industry, taking on the likes of Tesla, Daimler and other top global automotive brands involved in the EV sector. The Chinese-backed company has already opened up online reservations for the six-figure car, and has already boasted 64,124 orders. This is great news for the company, who have been struggling financially, losing key executives and overextending their resources for some time now, struggling to keep the brand’s head above water. Surely this means that Faraday will finally see success? I do not think we should get carried away just yet.
The thing that the company hasn’t told us is that putting down a ‘standard reservation’ doesn’t actually require any money from the interested party. This reserve merely confirms the customer’s intent to reserve a spot in the queue for when the FF 91 becomes available. Only customers who deposit the $5,000 will secure a ‘priority’ spot, which also allows the buyer the choice of upgrading to the FF 91 Alliance Edition. Faraday will only receive capital from people who are willing to put the money down – a figure that they are yet to release to us. This information – or lack of – means that the automaker is giving a false representation of global interest in the brand. Anyone can say that they are interested in a product, but it is a completely different story when they must part with the money. And, fundamentally, $5,000 is an absurd amount of money to put down on a vehicle that won’t be released for years and hasn’t even been officially priced yet!
When arch rival Tesla opened its reservations for the Model 3 it offered $1,000 refundable deposit, which made the automaker a very healthy $115 million and sent share prices through the roof. This leads me to believe that Faraday attempted a similar process, hoping that the reported 64,000 reservations would heavily impact its stock price and thus increase external investment. I can appreciate and respect Faraday’s ambition to go against the odds and finally unveil a finished product, but it is vital that a company of this calibre does not manipulate global interest for its own benefit. Anyone can talk the talk, but can FF walk the walk?