By on August 27, 2020

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While North America isn’t receiving Volkswagen’s ID.3, it might have been for the best. The car launched with software glitches that made certain tech functions inoperable and probably wasn’t suited for our market, anyway, according to the manufacturer. But the ID.4 (formerly ID Crozz) crossover is coming here, and promises to deliver a pleasant electric-driving experience and a range of up to 310 miles — assuming you bought the right package and are familiar with the European WLTP cycle.

Volkswagen also wants to use the model to test its new customer experience initiative, which allows shoppers to make reservations online. While the pandemic has encouraged the industry to do more of its business over the internet, the reservation trend was becoming popular ever since carmakers learned that such fees for in-demand models could preemptively line their pockets with cash.

Originally, this was done to ensure customers were serious about buying models produced in limited supplies, or as a way to help startups fund their production efforts ahead of time. It’s now become fairly common, as everyone seems to understand the scam program. In a virtual press conference Thursday, Volkswagen said it would allow parties to reserve the ID.4 next month for a $100 deposit. Duncan Movassaghi, vice president of VW Sales and Marketing, claimed it was the best solution for dealers — and was in line with how people have to live their lives during COVID-19.

Volkswagen has also decided to streamline the virtual store, mimicking the Tesla experience rather closely. Shopping tools for the brand’s EVs will soon include range and payment estimators in conjunction with a cost-analysis feature that compares the ownership price of an EV against an internal-combustion vehicle.

From there, customers can configure the car as they see fit — with the manufacturer noting the overall options will be lessened to make the online shopping experience easier. We happen to know that it also makes the production process a lot easier (see: cheaper), too. VW suggested this was being done to make the whole affair more closely resemble buying a new smartphone, which it must think people enjoy.

Specifics on the possible configurations weren’t elaborated upon, but we’re aware that the car will come in either front or all-wheel drive (the latter of which arrives later) and consist of three trim levels and one special edition. Once those have been input, customers can officially drop $100 to book the vehicle and decide which dealership they’d like it shipped to. Customers can then track the car’s progress from production to delivery in a manner similar to tracking parcels sent via UPS or FedEx.

Here’s where things get tricky. Once the tracker notifies a customer that the model is about to sweep through the factory, they’ll have to drop another $400 to lock in their order. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem that this is a separate charge; the cumulative amount spent reserving the ID.4 will be rolled into the final purchase price. Assuming you know what that price is in advance, this should be fine. But you can’t really negotiate if you use the online-shopping method, making the initial reservation feel kind of like an extra fee, anyway. That said, Volkswagen claims customers can still stop by their dealership to start or finalize their ID.4 purchase using its dedicated portal.

The company noted that the same treatment probably won’t be offered for the next batch of ICE vehicles, adding that the situation could change. “We have some customers, obviously, that still prefer the more traditional car buying experience.” said Dustin Krause, Volkswagen of America’s director of e-mobility. “But we also see a fast growing population of customers who want to go online, find their car and purchase it with no or very little intervention.”

Did you hear that, gramps? Going in to look at a product before you purchase it and negotiating a fairer price is becoming passé. Anyone who’s hip will simply smash in their pre-order and take whatever’s served up for them to consume.

The Volkswagen ID.4 doesn’t officially debut until next month, though the manufacturer offered up some new renderings to tide over whoever is interested till then — even though we already know what it looks like. Assume those digital pre-orders open up immediately after the debut, with European deliveries taking place prior to 2021. North America isn’t supposed to see the electric crossover until 2022, however.

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[Images: VW Group]

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12 Comments on “ID.4 Reservations Begin Next Month for $100; Volkswagen Streamlines Shopping Experience...”


  • avatar
    ash78

    The only thing I want from a dealer — and the reason I think this will ultimately outsell the Model Y — is that VW’s dealer network will give people the hands-on experience that is so lacking with Tesla. Elon makes a great car (not my cup of tea because I hate cramming the whole world into one screen). But I can’t just bug my neighbors to test drive their Teslas. But I’ve got 3 VW dealers in my metro area…and nowhere to see a Tesla.

    Some hybrid version of Tesla’s sight-unseen approach and VW’s plan seems like the happy medium the mass market needs.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Tesla does offer test drives.

      You can book one here:
      https://www.tesla.com/drive

      You might need to drive to The City to do it, though. The closest places to get a test drive for me at Indianapolis and Chicago.

      My small city does not have a Tesla store.

      What they won’t do is haggle with you over the price. But you can test-drive the car.

      Just like regular luxury car sales people, Telsa sales people profile you and try to get away if you reveal that you are frugal about your current ride. [Shrug]

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Yeah I had to drive to Nashville to drive one…roughly an hour and a half.

        • 0 avatar
          tankinbeans

          Familiarity breeds contempt. I used to pass the local Tesla office park location every day on my way to work. You never would have known it was there if you weren’t looking for it. The only identification present was the big T on the building itself. Since I live so close to a sales outlet, Teslas are fairly common and fly under my radar.

          I have driven one before when my friend was vaguely mulling the idea of leasing one. It was pretty cool, even if I couldn’t even pretend I could afford it. It was the model S P95+ if memory serves. The idea of simply opening the door, belting up, and putting it in gear was interesting, if disconcerting.

    • 0 avatar
      Rocket

      The ID.4 has absolutely no chance of outselling the Model Y in the US. Even if the car were better, and based on ID.3 reviews it will not be, there’s still the draw of the Tesla brand, which no VW will ever have. And no, I don’t own a Tesla, and I have no desire to.

  • avatar
    BlueEr03

    “Specifics on the possible configurations weren’t elaborated upon, but we’re aware that the car will come in either front or all-wheel drive (the latter of which arrives later)”

    The ID4 (and ID3) are RWD with an option for AWD, not FWD.

  • avatar
    hreardon

    I think you’re off on the delivery timeline: production has already started, and North America delivers are slated to begin in November/December. VW is prioritizing markets like CA, TX, FL, NY, MA, etc. first.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “…everyone seems to understand the (scam) program”

    It’s not a scam. At the end of the deal, you get something you’ve paid for.

    I gave Tesla a $1000 reservation for a Model 3 on 3/31/16. Two years later, I received my refund within a few days of asking. They would have made some interest on my money in 2 years – so what.

    One reason I cancelled – among many – is that I was getting fearful that I’d have to commit non-refundable money to a car I had not yet test-driven. I won’t do that. Six months after cancelling, I test drove one and still walked.

    In VW’s case, $100 up front plus another $400 to commit is chump change. If you want to be first on your block, then that’s what you do.

    One reason Tesla has fared so well during the pandemic is that most of their orders are online anyway, and traditional dealers have been caught with their pants down. It’s been funny to see them offer ‘safe’ buying options while still trying to demand MSRP through electronic purchases.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    I tried to reserve an ID.4, but I guess they are still ironing out the software – because 20 minutes later a guy showed up with $100 worth of Taco Bell.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Um, is it definitely confirmed that Canada is not getting the ID.3?

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