Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk has provided updates on the company's Cybertruck and suggested that it could end up becoming a flop in the market.
Musk wrote on Twitter that the car's doors would not have handles and would simply "recognize" the owner to open the door. He also said that the Tesla team was planning to retain the same design as the one they displayed during its 2019 launch. "Just some small tweaks here & there to make it slightly better," he wrote.
The Cybertruck caused a splash when it was launched in 2019. It had sleek angular lines, an unconventional trapezoidal design, and a yoke instead of a steering wheel. The launch event also had drama: Tesla design leader Franz von Holzhausen shattered the demo Cybertruck's glass windows with a metal ball after Musk's claim, moments earlier, that the windows could withstand bullets from a 9-millimeter handgun.
- Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the company's Cybertruck might turn out to be a failure because of its futuristic design.
- The all-electric pickup truck was launched with great publicity back in November 2019.
- It will have to contend with a market that is fast becoming crowded with startups and established carmakers.
But the public lapped up the truck's design and immediately submitted the $100 preorder amounts. Musk claimed that the number of preorders for the Cybertruck had already reached 250,000 within five days of its launch. By August 2021, that figure had surpassed 1.25 million.
Despite the numbers, Musk's mood was cautious. He said there is a chance that the all-electric truck may not succeed "because it is so unlike anything else." He wrote, “Other trucks look like copies of the same thing, but Cybertruck looks like it was made by aliens from the future." With a starting price of $39,900 for a rear-wheel drive (RWD) model, the truck is slated to start production later this year.
A market dominated by established carmakers
According to sales data from Motor Intelligence, pickup trucks constituted 20.1% of total sales of new cars last year. The market for pickup trucks is dominated by established carmakers. With a 36.1% share of the overall market, General Motors Company (GM) led the market, and Ford Motor Company (F) was second with a 33.8% market share.
Even as Tesla is gearing up to manufacture its truck, these established carmakers are already snapping at its heels. Ford plans to launch electric versions of its pickups. It plans to make an all-electric version of the F-150, its best-selling gasoline-powered truck, to be released in fall 2022. General Motors has also entered the market with its GMC Hummer EV, slated for delivery in 2023. Rivian, a Detroit-based startup, is making the R1T, which will deliver a range comparable to Tesla's Cybertruck. Rivian's product also qualifies for a federal tax credit.
If Musk is worried about competition, he is not showing it. "I don't care," he wrote on Twitter, referring to the prospect of a failure for the electric truck. "I love [the Cybertruck design] so much even if others don't."