The Tesla Cybertruck Has Had a Rough Start. Now Production Is Halted [BARRON’S]

The Cybertruck just hasn’t been a boon for Tesla yet.

Over the weekend, Tesla informed some soon-to-be Cybertruck owners about delivery delays because of production issues. Revelations about the delays have appeared in online forums and on Elon Musk’s social media platform X.

Tesla Cybertruck buyers have to wait a little longer than expected to take delivery of their avant-garde pickup trucks. COURTESY TESLA.

Tesla didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about production.

It’s the latest setback for the truck which took a long time to develop, is difficult to build, and is expensive.

Things just haven’t gone as smoothly for Tesla’s newest product as Tesla investors would have liked. After racking up hundreds of thousands of preorders in the months following a 2019 unveiling, Tesla only started delivering the truck in late 2023. What’s more, the first versions delivered were the $100,000-plus Cyberbeast versions with three motors putting out more than 800 horsepower. Cool, but priced beyond the reach of most truck buyers.

The goal is to produce 250,000 Cybertrucks a year, or about 62,500 a quarter. Musk says that the rate can be reached at some point in 2025. In the first quarter, Tesla probably made and delivered in the range of 3,500 Cybertrucks. Analysts use vehicle identification number registrations and other things to estimate production rates and volumes.

Tesla isn’t breaking out Cybertruck delivery numbers yet. It delivered 386,810 units in the first quarter including 369,783 Model 3 and Model Y vehicles. The balance of 17,027 is Model X SUVs, Model S sedans and Cybertrucks.

Production hiccups with new models aren’t all that surprising. Ford Motor ran into production problems with its F150 Lightning pickup truck.

Still, investors would like to see Cybertruck production rates improve. Selling hundreds of thousands a year would go a long way to easing fears about whether the oddly-shaped truck will be a hit with car buyers.

Coming into Monday trading, Tesla stock is down about 31% so far this year, underperforming the S&P 500 by almost 39 percentage points.

Slowing growth has weighed on shares. Wall Street expects Tesla to deliver about 1.8 million vehicles in 2024, flat with 2023. A year ago, Wall Street expected Tesla’s 2024 deliveries to top 2.4 million.

Within those 1.8 million units for 2024, analysts expect some 40,000 to 50,000 to be Cybertrucks.


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