Jan 27, 2022 - Economy & Business

Tesla delays Cybertruck until 2023

Tesla debuts the Cybertruck in Hawthorne, Calif., on Nov. 21, 2019. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images
Tesla debuts the Cybertruck in Hawthorne, Calif., on Nov. 21, 2019. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Tesla is at risk of falling behind on one of the most critical products in the American auto industry: pickups.

Why it matters: Pickups are the most profitable segment in the business and account for the first, second and third best-selling vehicles in the country. Without a serious pickup strategy, Tesla could miss out on a huge source of future income.

Driving the news: Tesla CEO Elon Musk told investors Wednesday that the company’s Cybertruck pickup is now delayed until 2023 — two years after it was originally promised.

Threat level: Competitors are poised to capitalize on the delay by taking the lead in EV pickups.

  • General Motors’ GMC Hummer EV pickup and startup Rivian’s R1T are already available.
  • The Ford F-150 Lightning — the EV version of the nation’s best-selling vehicle — arrives this year.
  • And more are coming, including GM's electric Chevrolet Silverado.

Yes, but: Tesla delivered a record $5.5 billion profit in 2021, fueled by strong demand for its Model 3 sedan and Model Y SUV.

Details: Musk says supply chain issues aren't the problem with the Cybertruck. Rather, it contains so much new technology that the pickup — initially promised to start at $39,900 — is at risk of costing too much.

  • "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.

The big picture: It’s unclear whether conventional pickup owners who prize utility over pizzazz will like the Cybertruck, IHS principal automotive analyst Stephanie Brinley tells Axios.

  • Musk "absolutely has to connect with those buyers," Brinley says. "They use it for work, they use it for play, they don’t compromise on certain things."
Go deeper