Why Tesla’s Cybertruck might flop


In theory, it could be the next Tesla to electrify a whole new demographic, one for which previous electric vehicles have held little to no appeal: the 20% of U.S. vehicle owners who drive pickups. But for the first time, Tesla may have missed the mark with its marketing, building a vehicle that is so self-consciously futuristic that it overshoots the target audience entirely.

…No one can accuse the Cybertruck of lacking machismo. It is absolutely enormous, for one thing. It looks like an unholy union of a Hummer, a DeLorean, and a post-apocalyptic armored vehicle.

To succeed, remember, the Cybertruck needs to appeal to people who weren’t Tesla buyers until now. And market research shows that full-size pickup owners don’t just make their decisions on the basis of performance; they also highly value tradition, and show some of the highest brand loyalty of any vehicle buyers. There is nothing remotely traditional about the Cybertruck.

The best comment I saw was from Twitter (paraphrasing): “The Cybertruck is a truck for Tesla fans. Tesla should have designed a Tesla for truck fans.” Musk’s boasting of pre-orders notwithstanding, this is a tough market to crack with a tough audience.