Best product ever? Musk touts CT!

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https://www.wsj.com/articles/elon-m...est-product-ever-here-comes-the-test-42095f45

AUTOS INDUSTRY
Musk Calls Cybertruck Tesla’s ‘Best Product Ever.’ Here Comes the Test.
The truck is expected to hit the market by the end of the year, two years behind schedule.
By Rebecca Elliott
Elon Musk is seeking to reimagine the classic American pickup with the Cybertruck, a distinctive-looking truck that is all angles and unpainted stainless steel.
Now, with Tesla expected to debut the truck by the end of the year, the coming months will test whether he can execute on that vision and deliver the company’s first new passenger vehicle in more than three years.
Bringing the Cybertruck to market has already proven challenging, with years of delays that have included design changes, cost overruns and pandemic uncertainties. The latest twist came Monday when the electric-car maker announced Zach Kirkhorn, who played an important role in keeping company costs in line as CFO, had stepped d
The electric truck was designed to break the mold of a traditional pickup, with a triangular profile and the promise of a bulletproof body. Some industry observers worry the uniquely designed vehicle will have limited appeal to buyers and that the costs of beginning production will hurt profitability as margins are already under pressure.
Investors are betting the truck will be worth the wait, and that it will inject new excitement into the Tesla brand, which has an older lineup than many of its competitors.
“The Cybertruck is so different, it’ll jazz up the entire franchise,” said Gary Black, managing partner of the Future Fund, a Tesla investor.
Musk has been hyping the truck for years. He has called it the company’s “best product ever” and has pitched the vehicle as a “badass, futuristic armored personnel carrier” that accelerates like a sports car and is packed with new technology.
In April, Musk said Tesla likely would begin delivering the new pickups in small numbers by the end of September. Output is expected to climb in 2024.
During the company’s most recent call with Wall Street analysts, however, Musk sidestepped a question about pricing and delivery schedules. Instead, he said deliveries would come this year. He also echoed past warnings that beginning production of a new vehicle can be tricky.
“The production ramp will move as fast as the slowest and least lucky elements of the entire supply chain and internal production,” Musk said last month.
Tesla didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Ramping up production of new vehicles has bedeviled Tesla, where Musk has described the launch of the Model 3 sedan several years ago as “production hell” that nearly killed the company.
Originally expected in 2021, the Cybertruck began to face challenges almost as soon as it was first shown in November 2019.
Within months, the Covid-19 pandemic was wreaking havoc on global supply chains and the Cybertruck took a back seat to surer bets designed to quickly expand Tesla’s market share or pad the bottom line, people familiar with the matter said.
Later, as employees turned their attention to the Cybertruck, they struggled to deliver o
their boss’s promises while keeping a lid on costs.
“You can make something infinitely desirable, but if it’s not affordable, that will constrain people’s ability to buy it because they don’t have the money,” Musk said in January 2022, adding that he worried about making a truck that was within reach for Tesla’s customers.
He initially promised three tiers of the truck, starting with a $39,900 entry-level model and topping out at a higher-end version starting at $69,900. He has since said the pricing and specs would be different, citing inflation and “various issues” without sharing specifics.
The company has taken on an array of new manufacturing challenges with the Cybertruck, which uses stronger, heavier stainless steel instead of the sheet metal typically used in car bodies.
Tesla aimed to skip an expensive manufacturing step for the outer shell of the truck with stainless steel, which doesn’t need to be painted because it is corrosion-resistant. However, it is rarely used to form vehicle bodies in part because it is less malleable than traditional materials. (DeLorean Motor’s stainless-steel-bodied sports car was featured as the time machine in the “Back to the Future” films.)
“There’s not industrywide knowledge of how to build stainless steel vehicles, and so there’s a whole bunch of things nobody knows about that they’re going to encounter,” said Doug Betts, president of J.D. Power’s automotive division.
And while Tesla excels in areas such as software and powertrain development, it has struggled with the process of building the car body, something the Cybertruck is likely to test, Betts said.
In addition to reimagining how pickup trucks should look, Musk wanted to upend how they are assembled. He envisioned a vehicle whose outer walls provide much of the overall structure.
“We moved the mass to the outside. We created an exoskeleton,” Musk said at the 2019 reveal.
However, Tesla has scaled back its exoskeleton ambitions, pursuing a more traditional vehicle design with an interior structure, people familiar with the matter said. The company did so, at least in part, to meet safety standards, one of the people said.
Some auto observers had expected more
“It’s unconventional in some areas, but for the most part it’s a conventional build,” said Sandy Munro, an engineering consultant who tears apart cars and has reviewed pictures of early versions of the Cybertruck. “It’s not the dramatic change that I was looking forward to,” he said, adding that he still thinks the vehicle will “take the market by storm.”
Musk has said he expects to make 250,000 or more Cybertrucks a year once output ramps up, making it a niche product in comparison to the company’s best selling Model Y crossover. In total, Tesla sold about 1.3 million vehicles last year and is aiming to sell 20 million annually by 2030.
The Cybertruck’s delays put it behind in a competitive segment where rivals have already brought their own EV pickups to market. Ford Motor’s F-150 Lightning, the top-selling electric pickup, starts at $49,995 after the company slashed prices last month. Rivian Automotive’s competitor, the R1T, starts at $73,000.
Still, if Tesla can be successful, there is great potential. Full-size pickup trucks are the cash cow of the U.S. auto industry, making up 13% of North American vehicle sales last year while being responsible for about 40% of profits, according to Wells Fargo.
Analysts expect early efforts to build Tesla’s truck could further erode the company’s profitability.
But the truck should eventually boost Tesla’s profit margin if the company is able to deliver on its promises, said Anthony Wang, who co-leads the technology investing team at T. Rowe Price Associates, one of the company’s largest shareholders.
“Whether the ramp comes this quarter or next, it doesn’t really matter,” Wang said. “What matters more is: Can they execute on the cost and the specs?”
Write to Rebecca Elliott at [email protected] Elon Musk Inc.
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So is there any news in this story? From what I read in the accompanying text there isn't anything new that we don't know already (i.e. click bait only). I am pretty damned tired of click bait with the Cybertruck :-(
 

TBONO

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So is there any news in this story? From what I read in the accompanying text there isn't anything new that we don't know already (i.e. click bait only). I am pretty damned tired of click bait with the Cybertruck :-(
Agreed nothing new. However, it is pretty comprehensive and those who don’t follow cybertruck news might get some value out of it.
 

scottf200

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OP
OP

CoachTerry

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I don’t do clickbait as I’m not selling anything. Interested in Musk’s assertions and what the mass media are saying about it.
 


Alpine

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Post the cliff notes too if you're going to post a book
 

Diehard

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How do you win?
Posting CT news that is not already on this site has a good chance. Much of new postings on other sites are opinion pieces that are mostly recycling old news. They post them because Tesla, Musk and CT are automatic hits for them. Members here are fairly informed so new CT info which does not have to be significant may get more traction even if it is just a 10 second CT sighting.
 

Jhodgesatmb

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I don’t do clickbait as I’m not selling anything. Interested in Musk’s assertions and what the mass media are saying about it.
I was talking about the news article being click bait, not your posting it here.

We are all interested in what Elon says about the Cybertruck this close to delivery but there is nothing he said in that comment. The mass media always finds a way to say not enough for us to get the whole story on anything.
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