Elon Musk says Tesla will create a normal pickup truck if the Cybertruck doesn't sell, as a 'fallback strategy'

Elon Musk says Tesla will create a normal pickup truck if the Cybertruck doesn't sell, as a 'fallback strategy'
Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk gestures while introducing the newly unveiled all-electric battery-powered Tesla Cybertruck at Tesla Design Center in Hawthorne, California on November 21, 2019.Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images
  • Despite hundreds of thousands of Cybertruck pre-orders, Elon Musk told Automotive News that Tesla will build a "normal truck, no problem" if people don't buy the unique design.
  • An exact number or pre-orders isn't known. Musk has previously said Tesla had crossed 200,000 pre-orders since the Cybertruck was revealed in November, but a Wedbush analyst pegged the number closer to 650,000.
  • Musk said a more conventional pickup was Tesla's "fallback strategy."

Tesla is happy to build a "normal" pickup truck if the Cybertruck doesn't take off, Elon Musk said in a new interview with Automotive News.

Tesla's Cybertruck is a dramatic design departure from the rest of the pickup truck market. With its stainless steel exterior and striking geometric form, it would be more at home in an episode of "Westworld" than a Kenny Chesney music video. But that's the point, Musk says, who said he wanted to create something that looked like it was from a sci-fi movie.

Tesla didn't perform any consumer research on the truck's Sci-Fi inspired design, Musk said. The move stands in stark contrast from rest of the pickup-truck market, where designs are extensively tested with potential buyers.

But if people find the truck too unusual and aren't willing to pay for it, he's open to the idea of a more conventional-looking Tesla truck.

Musk said he realized the Cybertruck could be "a complete failure," but the company has a back-up plan.


"But I wasn't super worried about that because if it turns out nobody wants to buy a weird-looking truck, we'll build a normal truck, no problem." Musk said a more conventional pickup was Tesla's "fallback strategy."

But if the reservations are any indication of how the Cybertruck will sell, Musk may not need to make any changes.

The Cybertruck has reached at least 250,000 reservations, according to one of Musk's tweets in November. Since then, some analysts estimate the number to be as high as 650,000, according to Wedbush Securities.

However, these high numbers have an important caveat: consumers can reserve a Cybertruck for the low price of $100, and their deposit is refundable. Those laying down a hundred bucks on a whim may not necessarily end up paying the $39,000 to $77,000 price tag when the Cybertruck becomes available. It will not be sold globally, Musk told Automotive News.

Pickup trucks dominate the U.S. car market. This year, pickup trucks outsold sedans for the first time, according to Bloomberg. Steady sales of the F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado are crucial to Ford's and GM's revenue.


Tesla is still aiming to launch the Cybertruck next year, Musk said.

Read his full interview over at Automotive News.