Colorful Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk provided updates on the company’s Cybertruck, which launched with enthusiasm in 2019, and suggested that it could end up flopping in the market.
On Twitter, Musk’s favorite social media platform, the CEO wrote that the car’s doors would not have handles. Instead, he would just recognize the owner and open the door. He also said the Tesla team planned to keep the same design that was shown when it launched in 2019. “Just a few small tweaks here and there to make it slightly better,” he wrote.
When it launched, the truck’s unconventional trapezoidal design and yoke, instead of a steering wheel, drew bemused responses from analysts and watchers at Tesla. Toni Sacconaghi, senior technology research analyst at Bernstein, wrote that the web truck was “weird… like, really weird.”
Key points to remember
- Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the company’s Cybertruck could turn out to be a failure due to its futuristic design.
- The all-electric pickup truck launched with great publicity in November 2019.
- It will have to contend with a market that is rapidly filling up with startups and established automakers.
But the highlight of the launch event was the shattering of the windows of a demo Cybertruck by Tesla’s chief design officer, Franz von Halzhausen, with a metal ball. Musk had said the windows could withstand bullets from a 9mm handgun.
As with most Tesla products, however, the public lapped the truck and immediately submitted the $ 100 pre-order amounts. Musk, who is not afraid of free publicity, has bragged about the numbers at public events and on Twitter.
But his mood on Thursday was more cautious. He said there is a chance that the all-electric truck will not succeed “because it looks like nothing else.” He wrote: “Other trucks look like copies of the same thing, but Cybertruck appears to have been made by aliens from the future. With a starting price of $ 39,900 for a rear-wheel drive (RWD) model, the truck is expected to begin production later this year.
A market dominated by established automakers
According to Motor Intelligence sales data, pickup trucks accounted for 20.1% of total new car sales last year. The pickup truck market is dominated by established automakers. With a market share of 36.1%, General Motors Company (GM) led the market and Ford Motor Company (F) was second with a market share of 33.8%.
Even as Tesla prepares to manufacture its truck, other automakers are following suit. Ford plans to launch all-electric versions of its pickup trucks by fall 2022. It plans to build an all-electric version of the F-150, its best-selling gasoline truck, to be released in fall 2022. General Motors has also entered the market with its GMC Hummer EV, scheduled for delivery in 2023. A startup, Rivian, has also entered the fray of all-electric pickup trucks with the R1T, which will offer range comparable to Tesla’s Cybertruck and also qualifies for a federal tax credit.
Given the competition and Tesla’s previous problems getting products out on time and increased competition, the success of its electric truck is far from certain. But that’s not a cause for concern for Musk. “I don’t care,” he wrote on Twitter, citing the prospect of the electric truck breaking down. “I love it (the Cybertruck design) so much even though others don’t like it.”