Tesla Cybertruck is a threat to Ford’s plans

Tesla Cybertruck is a threat to Ford’s plans

CEO Elon Musk says Tesla aims to build 200,000 of its Cybertrucks a year. The Tesla Cybertruck is a direct competitor to several other electric pickups, particularly the Ford F-150 Lightning. Musk could miss his target, but that may still hurt Ford Motor Co, which has light demand for its flagship electric vehicle (EV). (These are the most fuel-efficient new trucks.)

Musk has made outrageous comments about his product plans before. The first Cybertrucks were supposed to roll off the assembly line three years ago. And he says there is a waiting list that it will take Tesla over a year to fulfill. However, someone who claims to be waiting for a Cybertruck may never buy one.

Recently, Musk commented that Tesla had “built its own grave,” increasing capacity to build the Cybertruck. Presumably, the Cybertruck has dug itself out of that grave. The first ones will come off the assembly line this month.

The fate of the Tesla Cybertruck, at least in the short term, is based on the company’s magic, which is the magnet of its brand. Tesla delivered 435,000 vehicles in the third quarter. Granted, some of these were in other markets, primarily China. Nevertheless, Tesla is the EV market share leader in the United States.

Ford has sold only a few thousand Lightnings this year. That is even though the gasoline-powered F-150 has been the top-selling vehicle in the United States for 40 years. That should give Ford a built-in target market, but that has not worked out.

Tesla’s Cybertruck could be a failure. There is increasing evidence that Americans have shied away from EVs. They take too long to charge. People can fill a gasoline-powered car in 10 minutes. There are still only a few thousand charging stations in the United States, compared to 125,000 gas stations.

The Cybertruck has been anticipated for three years. If it does sell well, the competition, particularly Ford, will have a major challenge. There are only so many EV pickup customers to go around.

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