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Tesla will take the wraps off its long-awaited pickup truck in Los Angeles Thursday night.

Why it matters: Pickups are enormously popular with U.S. consumers, but Tesla will have competition in this space even if electric trucks become a thing. Ford and GM are also both working on models, too.

What we're watching: The usual stuff — like price (CEO Elon Musk has said he'd like to keep the starting price below $50,000), range and strength.

  • A big question is how futuristic the truck is. Musk has teased the idea that it will be like something out of a sci-fi movie.
  • I love the movie "Blade Runner," and Musk pointed out via Twitter recently that it's set in L.A. in November of 2019, the same month, year and place where the classic 1982 flick is set.
  • Maybe he's seen things we won't believe in preproduction (sorry, I had to).

The intrigue: Cox Automotive analyst Michelle Krebs tells me she's doubtful that many current pickup drivers are interested in electric models.

  • She cites survey work Cox has done showing trucks are far down the list of vehicle types considered for future EV buys.
  • However, she said Tesla and other makers could find "a whole new audience for pickup trucks — people who wouldn’t buy a regular pickup but would buy an electric one."
What they're saying

Bernstein analysts, in a note this week, said the global market for pickups north of $30,000 is around 2.5-3 million annually and heavily concentrated in the U.S.

But, but, but: They write that Musk has hinted that the truck "may sell relatively few units," and the analysts suspect this could stem from...

  • The truck's futuristic design
  • The likely price point, noting the "relatively higher prices for mid and higher trim levels"
  • The "strong market concentration and historic brand loyalty of pickup buyers."

“I really don’t anticipate the truck will be a high-volume vehicle for Tesla, but it will generate enthusiasm in the core of its customers,” Mike Ramsey, an analyst with the firm Gartner, tells Forbes in this informative preview.

One big question: Getting back to Michelle Krebs' point above, it remains to be seen how much the truck can appeal to existing pickup buyers.

  • “I think Tesla’s in kind of a unique position in which they can almost become the anti-pickup-truck pickup truck, because they’re not necessarily having to stick with the same formula people have used in the past,” Edmunds' Jessica Caldwell tells The Verge.

“I think pickup truck buyers are probably more flexible than we give them credit for," she tells the publication.

What's next: The Bernstein note predicts that Tesla will target production beginning in late 2020 or early 2021, with deliveries starting in early-to-mid 2021.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

AOC and Ilhan Omar want to block Biden’s former chief of staff

Reps. Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar are boosting a petition against Joe Biden nominating his former chief of staff to a new role in his administration, calling Bruce Reed a "deficit hawk” and criticizing his past support for Social Security and Medicare cuts.

Why it matters: Progressives are mounting their pressure campaign after the president-elect did not include any of their favored candidates in his first slate of Cabinet nominees, and they are serious about installing some of their allies, blocking anyone who doesn't pass their smell test — and making noise if they are not heard.

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Axios Re:Cap talks with the turkey giant's CEO Jay Jandrain about what people are buying, what they're asking the "Turkey Talkline" and what the pandemic has meant for his business.

Biden introduces top national security team

President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke Tuesday at an event introducing the incoming administration's top national security officials, where he told the story of his stepfather being the only one of 900 children at his school in Poland to survive the Holocaust.

What they're saying: "At the end of the war, he made a break from a death march into the woods in Bavaria. From his hiding place, he heard a deep rumbling sound. It was a tank. But instead of the iron cross, he saw painted on its side a five pointed white star," Blinken said.