I promised myself I was going to stay out of the pre-production vs Production mess these cars were ... but.. and I am sure I will regret this...
I build things - I am not the best fabricator on this board, but also am a successful classically trained product manager, and I have brought to market a few $1B run rate products and some for Apple under Steve's direct eye and I can tell you Nothing left Apple if it was not awesome on fit and finish, and I have done my share of smoke and mirror demos on Hardware and software along the way to get the "ramp" paid for or get investors.
These cars are NOT pre-production in the sense of the word. Pre Production means these were done by hand or highly supervised on the same production line that regular production is done on using all the same components and all the components passed QC and went through production validation where the cars were assembled and disassembled at least 10x each with time studies and modifications to production procedures written and updated - that is the only way anything gets to large scale production. and also why it takes 3-5 years for these types of products to come to market (not the second or third, but the first line)
These were "design validation prototypes" at best. They were likely hand assembled and I am sure done in a severe hurry and not using any best practices or production methodology (ISO).
Sometimes if you don't do time studies or just don't have parts in time - you crunch and just throw things together - well you do that once then you get fired or go out of business.
And if RG had real production execs there no one had the B@LLs to tell RG these cannot be shown. I have done that a few times in my career - its not easy
They also have a lot of outsourced parts that like doors and latches obviously were not QC'd coming in
Somehow I doubt RG's team had an optical comparator and a number of go/no go fixtures set up Yet when they built these.
In most developments the stages are concept, prototype, design validation, product validation, pre-production, production validation, and finally production. They go by different names at different companies, but each stage has a boundary condition that must be met before proceeding to the next development stage.
Along the way you build many protypes and development mules and "show cars or concept cars" to show the public and investors. This is the way its normally done for a reason
When you "cowboy" the development IRL you usually never deliver a finished product that scales into production. Unless a bunch of people responsible get fired over the showing of those cars - this project is doomed to reach large scale production
Speed has a lot riding on this being a good showing, and anyone without blinders on saw a bunch of crap with pretty screens rolled out -
They are FAR from a finished product
The guys are Polaris and Canned Ham were probably high five-ing all weekend
I have stepped into many of those projects and got paid a lot of money to Un-F them.
All the problems people are discussing with Polaris ad Canned ham "happen" after something goes into production and every year you iterate the product until its correct or replaced. even with lots of hands on testing you miss things and you can't test every application and while something holds up well jumping with 4 150Lb people out in 4 300Lb people and things change ...
Compromises are made and no matter the best intentions you ship an MVP (minimal viable product) out the door because reworks cost time and money, they can be fixed over time and we all know customers will still buy the product even if they bitch and moan about it. Anyone that has owned and RV knows that for sure.
I could go on for many pages on what I would find if I did a consulting gig for RG, but the bottomline is the concept of the car is great, it is not a dream it can be reality, but large scale production is not likely until they fix their internal short comings and maybe hire some professional product people .
Its why Tesla has a bunch of Ford and GM people working there - Elon is not stupid... We all have limitations -
So in the end did showing these Disappointing example help or hurt the brand? what do you think?
Rant over ...