Hey, I thought I had shared this below but am not seeing it (still getting used to navigation and protols). I have provided my rational for canceling my order even with the most generous possible interpretation.
What I found difficult to interpret here was those who are maybe speaking hyperbolically when they say that Jim is a "grifter" and "cheater" and someone who intends to exploit people for financial gain of his own well having no intention to build them a car. It's just my opinion but those people sound so frustrated in their language that I didn't know what to make of their statements. Having spent a lot of time with Jim now on the phone in multiple conversations and watching dozens videos and talking to some happy customers in great detail about his manufacturing process as well as, especially his management decisions, I have concluded that he is well intentioned but he is his own worst bottleneck in being more successful and having happier customers. He has turned out cars that people love to drive when they get them but the wait and the lack of predictability about the length of time for the wait especially are killing him. Ultimately it made me decide not to order a new one. Even if I believed everything he says, and there are some areas which I have talks about whether he is being honest with himself, not being able to predict whether I'm going to wait 2 years 4 years 6 years or longer will drive me nuts. It could leave me to becoming one of the haters who sounds so fed up and frustrated. It may be that the result of his manufacturing process has the same effect of him being a "grifter" so I guess I get where a couple of the more voluable and expressive people are coming from but it was hard to take them literally after seeing how much Jim cares about his cars and making things that will be great whenever they get finished however long that takes. In my conversation with him yesterday I suggested he should charge a good deal more than he does and get help so he can finish more than a couple cars a year, he had some explanations but basically I think it comes down to he likes to be on top of everything personally and has not trained enough people that he trusts to work on key parts of manufacturing process. I think he also let feature creep harm his timing in the past. Sounds to me like when someone wanted something new he was too intrigued about the process of seeing if he could do it to just say no because it was going to kill not only the time frame for that car but every other car chewed up afterwards. Rinse repeat a bunch of times and you get nothing happening for anyone for great length of time.
At least with me throughout he was very upfront that he thinks there is a two-year backlog at this point but that there's no way of knowing how long it will take to get my car for sure because of many variables beyond his control so I should be prepared to wait longer than that. He was very clear about the lack of predictability. Maybe he is more careful how he says things now because of past people's disappointments or mismatch with their expectations and his process. I did ask him about the bankruptcy and company name change and investigated such public documents as were available and tracked down the possible conditions for the BBB rating and it seemed to tell a cohesive story about what went on and why and did suggest necessarily that he was a charlatan. In addition, I do think there are differences in the way he is currently subcontracting out significant elements and has standardized on just a couple designs and constrained significantly what options he offers compared to what he did in the past - probably because trying to solve irresistible engineering problems led him down too many rabbit holes and delayed everyone's cars too long. So it was tempting to think for a moment that he may have sorted things out and once he gets through his backlog will be much more efficient in producing cars. I really wanted to believe this but in the end I couldn't find enough evidence that people were getting their cars more quickly. At least yet.
In my business experience a smart, curious and resourceful engineer who has no one to effectively make productivity demands, is an extremely dangerous and risky asset. If he is very personable it is actually worse. If that person is head of the company then the company has a significant risk of success. This is why venture capital firms will often only invest in new technology companies when they can bring in a management professional from keeping the perfect the deadly enemy of the good (and viable).
But in any case right now I am as worried about him expiring or deciding to sell the company to someone else before my car is completed which would lead to a whole another level of uncertainty and risk for me. So even if I believed everything he said (insert caveat about self deception if not shading facts again), I don't want to have to sit with not knowing what the period of my wait will be. It's the uncertainty more than the length of time. If I had reason to believe that with 100% certainty of a completed car in even 4 years I might still go ahead. But he himself, not to mention many if you here has made it clear I'm just a never going to get certainty until near the very end of the process.
I think the product he is making that I have discussed over many conversations at length and reviewed on many many videos has engineering solutions over for windows, tops, internal chasis frame, suspension, engine options, availability of stock parts later, and many other details for the price he guarantees represents the best bundle of goods for me. But I just can't take the less risk even if I trust his good intentions that I would see the car before my own head exploded and many of you had the schadenfreude pleasure of saying "we tried to warn you! "