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200,000 Orders Placed to Date for Tesla’s Cybertruck: Impressive, But With a Caveat

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Tesla wanted to generate a ton of press with its new Cybertuck electric truck, and you can certainly say it accomplished that. The presentation was well-orchestrated by head honcho Elon Musk and set the Internet on fire for a few days.

Musk is a man who likes doing things differently, and that’s a quality that’s appreciated by many. Some might say, on the other hand, that perhaps he craves media attention a little too much. Regardless, the job of the media is to absorb the information and evaluate it for what it’s worth, analyze it and comment on it.

Last week we shared with you our initial appraisal of the Tesla Cybertruck after its official launch in California. Yes, it’s ugly. Yes, it’s utterly unorthodox. Yes, it brings welcome change to the truck segment. And yes, it will probably change form significantly before it gets to the production stage.

In the here and now, the goal was to folks talking about the Cybertruck.

Photo: Tesla

Now, Elon Musk has confirmed the company has received close to 200,000 orders for the truck. It’s an incredible number in such a short time, but there’s an important caveat.

When the Model 3 was first presented, enthusiasm for the car was more fevered than it is now for the Cybertruck. At the time, interested buyers had to fork over $1,000 to reserve their Model 3. For the Cybertruck in 2019? It takes $100 for the same privilege.

There’s no doubt the missing ‘0’ changes the meaning of the 200,000 orders. What percentage of those interested buyers would have put their money on the table if the pound of flesh demanded was $1,000?

A quick look online reveals many folks who say they put down their deposit just to say they’d done so, perhaps to prick their friends and family into a debate about the latest new Tesla project. Others say they want to support the company; others are die-hard Musk-ites who would follow the Tesla CEO just about anywhere. To be fair, many certainly placed orders because they actually want to buy the truck.

Our caveat is only about the 200,000 pre-order number, is all.

As we mentioned previously, the noise generated by this presentation, sure to go down as one of the oddest in automotive history, has obscured real discussion about the Cybertruck’s capabilities and its pricing. We hope and expect that gradually these will come to dominate discussion about the model. After all, sooner or later future owners will actually have to use the darn thing. 

Photo: Tesla

In any event, a quick look back at the presentation leads to one of two possibilities.

Either the Cybertruck launch was one of the cleverest bits of marketing genius to be seen in a long time, and the model will get the requisite improvements and refinements before going into production, or the maestro Musk totally missed the mark, and the model is destined to be a dismal failure. While we can’t know where the truth lies exactly, we cross our fingers hoping it’s the first scenario. 

Every person’s opinion is equally valid when it comes the Cybertruck. Nobody has a functioning crystal ball that can predict its future. Certainly, Musk the person, his products and the company’s mission in life are unlike anything seen in the automotive industry since a certain Henry Ford came out with the Model T.

So now we wait for the next new design sketch of the Cybertruck, new numbers regarding its capabilities when loaded with cargo, for instance, or in what equipment will feature in each of the versions of the model.

Meantime, everything that could be said about the Tesla electric pickup has been said. Time will tell what Tesla’s real plan was with this concept and the surreal presentation given it.

Stay tuned.