Musk wanted simply to build something out of this world.
No customer research was done for the Cybertruck.
If it does fail, Tesla will simply build a normal pickup.
No other carmaker can simply decide to design a vehicle to be unusual and as different as possible for the fun of it. Tesla’s Cybertruck, albeit functional, was meant to defy the automotive status quo.
Since its unveiling last fall, the Tesla Cybertruck has been described as being from the future and occasionally awkward. It looks unlike anything else on the road and this was done on purpose. In an Automotive News (subscription required) interview, Musk goes so far as to say that he “wanted to make a futuristic battle tank — something that looks like it could come out of Blade Runner or Aliens or something like that but was also highly functional.”
When redesigning their trucks, manufacturers like Ford, GM, and RAM typically organize focus groups, interview owners, and research their needs and wants. In the interviews, Musk admits that no customer research was done. Period.
In fact, because the Cybertruck, which is slated to arrive next year, is so different and off the wall, Musk feels no pressure for it to succeed. If it turns out to be a failure, they’ll build a normal one.
“It can be a better sports car than a Porsche 911, a better truck than an F-150, and it’s armored and looks sort of kick-ass from the future. That was the goal, recognizing this could be a complete failure,” Musk said. “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. There’s lots of normal trucks out there that look pretty much the same; you can hardly tell the difference. And sure, we could just do some copycat truck; that’s easy. So that’s our fallback strategy.”
So far, more than 500,000 and up to 650,000 pre-orders have been placed for the new Tesla Cybertruck. Its polarizing design has struck a chord, to be certain. Musk has often poked fun at the Ford F-150 when comparing to the Cybertruck and the strategy might work.
“We’re really, fundamentally making this truck as a North American ass-kicker, basically,” he said. “The goal is to kick the most amount of ass possible with this truck. We want it to be something you could use to tow a boat, a horse trailer, pull tree stumps out of the ground, go off-roading and you don’t have to worry about scratching the paint because there is no paint. You could just be smashing boulders and be fine.”
The Tesla Cybertruck will likely be classified as a medium-duty truck and so will measure up to the Ford Super Duty and Heavy Duty versions of the GM twins and the RAM.