Production levels will likely set the price of the Cybertruck, say analysts.
For the foreseeable future, Cybertruck production will be constrained. Tesla has made this clear, saying recently that it “will first be released in limited quantity” (via Edmunds). Other reports (Electrek) say only 10 vehicles will be delivered at the upcoming Cybertruck delivery event on November 30.
That means a booming secondary market.
“Considering demand far outstrips supply right now…I’m guessing that many of the first deliveries will end up in the secondary market for a lot more than whatever Tesla lists as the base price,” Car and Driver Editor-in-Chief Tony Quiroga told me in an email.
Quiroga is in fact echoing statements made by Tesla. Though later removed, a clause in the Cybertruck’s buyer agreement had originally said that Tesla had the right to sue new owners for $50,000 “or the value received as consideration for the sale or transfer [of the Cybertruck], whichever is greater” if buyers resell the car within one year, as reported by Edmunds.
Quiroga estimates that it will “take a while” for pricing to come down even if the official base price set by Tesla is relatively low.
Tyson Jominy, VP of data & analytics at J.D. Power, said it’s a function of manufacturing.
“The price will be a signal of the manufacturing progress Tesla has made and its volume expectation,” Jominy told me in an email.
“Tesla has a history of very rocky launches. Each of its vehicles seem to have one self-inflicted challenge in getting to market,” according to Jominy.
“Uncommon falcon doors on the Model X; the ‘alien dreadnaught’ factory to make Model 3 that required moving assembly to tents; and, to launch the mainstream Model Y in the early uncertain days of the pandemic required workers to stay at the plant.”
“To that list we now add Cybertruck with its unique stainless steel body panels. Few automakers have used stainless steel for reasons that it’s very difficult to work with in automotive applications. Any imperfections in manufacturing or assembly are glaringly obvious with this metal. CT is likely to be produced very slowly for many months,” Jominy said.
Demand: the iPhone effect
As one of the most anticipated cars in recent years, demand is through the roof with CEO Elon Musk saying recently that there are over one million reservations.
Driving demand is the fact that a Tesla isn’t a car as much as it is a tech product. And like any coveted tech product, a new release triggers massive demand. (Musk posted a reminder of the Cybertruck event on X which received over 37 million views).
“Teslas enjoy the Apple iPhone effect. A new one comes out and it becomes a must-have,” Quiroga said.
The icing on the cake is the novelty of the design.
“The appeal (to some) of the design and uniqueness of the Cybertruck is likely driving interest,” according to Quiroga.
But he doesn’t expect a ripple effect across the truck industry. It’s likely limited to Tesla. “I doubt that the Cybertruck will spur [Ford F-150] Lightning, [GMC] Hummer, or Rivian R1T sales since those are more traditionally designed vehicles and are likely to be considered by more traditional truck customers.”
And it’s not even so much that it’s a pickup — a vehicle category that wasn’t available until recently as an EV.
“People who want the latest, greatest Tesla…and that also happens to be a pickup,” said Quiroga.