Musk warns of ‘enormous challenges’ for Tesla Cybertruck production and pricing


Tesla’s long-delayed Cybertruck, its blocky version of a pickup truck, will finally be available in November though CEO Elon Musk cautioned investors to keep their sales expectations in check because of how difficult and costly it is to manufacture.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks at the debut of the Cybertruck in November 2019.

AFP via Getty Images

“It’s an amazing product but I do want to emphasize that there will be enormous challenges in reaching volume production with the Cybertruck and then in making the Cybertruck cash flow positive,” Musk said during Tesla’s earnings call on Wednesday. “While I think this is potentially our best product ever — I think it is our best product ever — it is going to require immense work to reach high-volume production and be cash flow positive at a price that people can afford.”

The billionaire entrepreneur declined to provide a volume target for the new model’s sales in 2024, though he speculated that it could reach 250,000 sales a year, possibly by 2025. And he provided no further detail on the “enormous challenges” he cited.

At its public debut in November 2019 (when design chief Franz von Holzhausen embarrassingly shattered the truck’s supposedly indestructible armor glass), Musk claimed the vehicle would be on the road by 2021 with a base price of as little as $39,900. Tesla hasn’t announced what the truck will really cost when it finally goes on sale, though industry analysts expect the price to be far higher than the one Musk first specified.

Musk claims demand for the Cybertruck is “off the charts” with more than 1 million potential buyers putting down $100 to reserve one. It’s not at all clear how many of those people will follow through on the purchase, particularly if its price increases. The truck will be produced at Tesla’s Austin, Texas, plant, with deliveries to start on Nov. 30.

Tesla is pushing its way into pickups because they’re the auto market’s largest, most profitable segment. But it’s not a pioneer in the electric truck space. Ford, which has dominated the pickup market for decades with its F-150, beat Tesla to market with its battery-powered F-150 Lightning, aimed at both pickup fans and commercial customers, starting at $49,995. GM is rolling out its $52,000 electric Chevy Silverado and Stellantis is preparing to sell the $58,000 RAM 1500 REV that promises up to 500 miles of range per charge. Customers looking for a non-traditional truck can also get an electric R1T from upstart Rivian, a sporty model the company promotes for camping and beach trips with friends.

Musk spoke after Tesla posted weaker-than-anticipated financial results last quarter. The company’s $23.4 billion in sales during the three-month period ending September 30 came in below consensus analyst forecasts of roughly $24.2 billion, according to FactSet, while its $0.66 earnings per share fell short of estimates of $0.72. Tesla’s 9% year-over-year revenue growth was its weakest since 2020’s second quarter.

Shares of Tesla dropped 9.3% to $220.11 in Nasdaq trading on Thursday.

This article was originally published on and all figures are in USD.

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