In part two of a three part interview series with Automotive News, Tesla CEO Elon Musk discussed a range of topics including Tesla's Cybertruck, Giga Texas, Tesla’s headquarters and next US factory, and future vehicles.
Most headlines have gravitated towards Musk's comments on Giga Texas and the Cybertruck. Prior to releasing the interview, Automotive News published an article which may have seemed surprising to those following Tesla closely.
The article was titled "Musk Suggests Tesla Would Build 'Normal Truck' if Cybertruck Flops." Such a headline could imply that Musk still has doubts about the market appeal of the Cybertruck. Additionally, the article notes that Tesla has at least 200,000 reservations for the Cybertruck. To those unfamiliar with the history of the Cybertruck, this might sound strong, but it would represent a pretty disappointing number considering Tesla had 250,000 reservations within a week of unveiling the Cybertruck.
However, now that the interview has been released, the context helps to clarify the Automotive News report. In terms of contingency plans, Musk discussed the prospect in the past tense. He said if no one had wanted to Cybertruck, they could have easily pivoted and made a more traditional looking truck, a comment he has made in the past. However, it is now clear that has not been the case.
"Now, as it turns out, the reaction has been amazing. We’ve had several hundred thousand people place orders for the truck. We’ve seen more excitement for the Cybertruck than any product we’ve ever unveiled," said Musk.
This statement also serves as the basis for the mention of at least 200,000 Cybertruck reservations. While 200,000+ is technically accurate, it is clear from the previously released numbers and Musk's comments here that he is referring to a significantly larger number.
The Cybertruck has a high bar for generating more excitement than any other Tesla product. The last disclosure of Model 3 reservations before the vehicle's launch was 455,000. Presumably, Musk is alluding to the Cybertruck's numbers surpassing Model 3, although the comparison isn't perfect. Model 3 reservations were $1,000 while the Cybertruck is only $100.
For more Tesla analysis including Musk's other comments and news from Giga Berlin and Giga Shanghai, please see the included video.
Disclosure: Rob Maurer is long TSLA stock and derivatives.