Yesterday, Tesla unveiled the new Tesla Cybertruck (stylized as CYBRTRK) and well, a lot of publications weren’t exactly kind to the new truck’s absolutely admittedly polarizing look.
And, I mean, I don’t blame them. I myself even turned to Michael Fisher next to me, and said, “That’s gotta be a joke.” when it first came out.
After spending more time around it the rest of the night though, I have to admit, my reaction went from that to “Eh.”, to “It’s okay maybe” to “OK, I think I might actually like it”.
Regardless of the jarring look though, for people to be saying it won’t sell because of it, well that’s just ridiculous.
Firstly, let’s give a quick rundown of the highlights of the truck for anyone not familiar and then we’ll talk about why they won’t have any issue selling it.
The body of the truck is actually the frame. The Tesla team designed it as a sort of exoskeleton instead of having a traditional frame and body fitted on top, which makes it impressively strong and rigid as you can imagine (they even hit it with a sledgehammer to drive the point home).
It has adjustable ride height that can even adjust based on the payload in the back, which has a limit of 3500lbs.
In that bed, there are outlets to plugin tools (and even an all-electric ATV that will be sold as an option), an air compressor to power pneumatic tools (often used on construction sites), and a metal tonneau cover that kinda reminds me of the Bat Mobile from the 1989 Batman movie.
Performance-wise, the top model (of three models) can tow up to 14,000 lbs, go from 0-60 in 2.9 secs, and has a 500+ mile range on a single charge.
On the inside, seating for 6 and a 17″ touchscreen featuring Tesla’s very much praised software for controlling everything, as well as their clever self-driving tech, as well.
Finally, the price starts at $39,900 and goes up to $69,900 for the top model making it comparable to the top-selling vehicle in the US the Ford F-150 (again, the top-selling vehicle not just truck).
OK, now back to why the oddball look of this vehicle isn’t going to affect it’s sales and, might even help it.
This is the Volkswagen Beetle.
It is one of the top-selling cars and one of the longest-running production cars in history. It is also pretty ugly.
Back in the 1960s a creative ad agency for Volkswagen in the US started a campaign based on its unusal appearance. Ads claiming that ugly is only skin deep, showing the lunar lander and saying, “it’s ugly, but it gets you there”, etc.
Well, needless to say, it was a massively successful campaign. Other examples of “ugly” successful products include UGGs (actually named for the fact the founder’s wife called them ugly), Crocs (running ads saying ugly is beautiful), even, more recently, Ugly Produce campaigns taking the less appetising looking fruits and vegetables and using their appearance coupled with the fact that they taste just as good as the pretty ones as a selling point.
And just as with those products, the Tesla CYBRTRK is by most standards as functional if not more functional than other trucks on the market currently despite it’s odd appearance and the price sits where the top-selling trucks do.
On top of that, there’s also the anti-fashion angle: people who will love it for it’s rejection of style to some degree, the non-conformists who tend to hate anything that is mainstream, and let’s not forget the almost fanatical following of Tesla owners in general (regardless of what it looks like some people just want a Tesla truck).
Some savvy people on Twitter even started checking the order numbers from when the preorder page went up against more and more orders being placed as time goes on and, if those order numbers are sequential which they probably are, there could be as many as 250k preorders already placed. Of course placing a pre-order only cost $100 and a lot of people might not actually buy at the end of the day when this goes on sale but still that’s an insane amount of interest.
Now, look non of that’s to say that it will sell as well as an F-150 whose looks will appeal to a wider audience, is a better option for people who can’t put in a charger where they live, maybe, etc. etc.
But when you ask a truck person what draws them to buying a truck in the first places, you’ll almost certainly get rattled off a list of capabilities, towing ability, the fact they can bash it into trees, rocks, etc and not care (which this truck will be able to do and not even dent in a lot of cases), etc etc you will almost certainly not get how pretty the truck is.
There you go. What do you guys think, let me know in the comments below and make sure to check out the new Decodr show and let me know what you think of that!
Regardless, as always, thanks for reading!