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Can your imagination get the best of you? Yes, the Cybertruck.

80% of new vehicles sold in the US are SUVs or trucks. And Tesla has nothing "reasonable" in those categories. The Cybertruck is an expensive tank for folks who want to be "different" ..."really different". Too big, too costly for most of the EV Public.

Originally priced at $40,000 a properly outfitted one will put you back twice that or more! As for Tesla's Model X (their SUV that represents only a small fraction of sales/Model Y and 3 represent about 95% of sales), it's expensive and strangle-looking.

Meanwhile, the competition has designs that are far more pleasing. Elon could clean up by introducing a good-looking, reasonably priced truck and a better SUV choice.

Rivan looking great!

Cybertruck looking big and odd?

Kia SUV looking badass

Tesla Model X SUV looking decidedly strange and unsexy.

More Cowbell!

The Cybertruck Is Weird. So Was Elon Musk’s Cybertruck Launch.

Given a chance to get close to the new pickup, some influencers complained about its price and range

Tim Higgins, WSJ 

Dec. 9, 2023

The early reviews of the Cybertruck are in, and Elon Musk was wrong if he thought his powerful influencer army would give Tesla a pass on missing the mark.

He had promised nothing less than the year’s “biggest product launch” for the electric-vehicle company’s “best product ever.”

Typically, a new-vehicle launch is all about maximizing media coverage, taking advantage of interest to earn free exposure to potential buyers.

See how Tesla’s Cybertruck compares with other pickups.

That is usually the case—except if you are Musk. Over the years, Tesla has whittled down the number of journalists invited to attend its events, as Musk, the chief executive officer, bets he has the personal influence to get his message directly to customers unfiltered.

For the Cybertruck launch, that meant mainstream news outlets barred from the building, no press photos and minimal media test drives.

Instead, Tesla turned to social-media influencers to touch, feel and emote. They told the world about the sci-fi-inspired electric truck that looks like a giant, steel triangle on wheels designed to compete with sports cars for quickness and work trucks for ruggedness.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk delivering the company’s first Cybertruck pickups to customers at a recent event in Texas.

For Tesla, atypical tactics are no surprise. Whether it was eschewing traditional advertising or using a direct-sales model instead of franchised car dealers, Musk has cut many new paths in the automotive industry. But this launch was extreme, even for him.

At the company’s last delivery event for a new passenger vehicle in 2017, the nation’s biggest news outlets were welcomed in for test drives of the Model 3 and to ask questions about the new sedan, resulting in a wave of coverage about the bet-the-company offering.

This time, it was a launch event seemingly made for X, the social-media company Musk now owns. Held at Tesla headquarters in the Austin, Texas, area, the event was streamed live on the platform and was stocked with enthusiastic X users posting about seeing the Cybertruck up close.

The early impressions they shared matter.

Wall Street doesn’t expect the Cybertruck to become a sales beast. But it is seen as a so-called halo car—a glitzy offering to attract attention and bring lookie-loos to the brand with hopes they buy something more routine, such as the Model Y crossover that fuels Tesla’s business.  

Cybertruck deliveries to early customers at the Nov. 30 event marked the first time they could get close to the production version of the vehicle, which was announced four years ago when Musk surprised everyone with the unique-looking pickup that he said would cost as little as $39,900.

His influencers who attended the launch event expressed confusion over the ultimate range between charges for the electric vehicle and complained about the price being higher than originally announced—around $20,000 more for the cheapest one, not available until 2025. The most-expensive version jumped in price to about $100,000 from the previous target of $69,900.  

“It’s definitely not the truck to end all trucks that Tesla was hyping it to be,” Zack Nelson told his followers during a video posted on his YouTube channel called JerryRigEverything, which has more than eight million subscribers.

Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, posted videos on X of himself taking possession of one of the first trucks delivered that day. “Initial feeling about this vehicle: smooth, it smells nice, it is big but not unwieldy,” he said in a video post.

A generation ago, auto shows were central to introducing new vehicles, with automakers competing to garner attention. Months later, companies would give auto writers early access to those vehicles for test drives so they could publish reviews when the cars arrived in showrooms.

Chrysler, now part of Stellantis, was among the best at staging stunts for attention. Arguably, its most successful one came in 1992 during the debut of a Jeep Grand Cherokee at the Detroit auto show when then-executive Bob Lutz drove the SUV through plate glass.

“Within 72 hours, that photograph of the Grand Cherokee breaking through the plate glass was on the front page of every major newspaper in the world,” Lutz recalled.

He added that the world of media has changed. And Musk holds unique power as a car CEO through his celebrity and reach with X, where he has more than 165 million followers.

“It’s not surprising to me that he would say, ‘Who needs these guys?…I’ll do it all via modern electronic media. I don’t need television. I don’t need print. I’ll do it my way,’” Lutz said.

While 20-year-old Tesla has mostly eschewed auto shows and other rites, it didn’t totally abandon the traditional playbook. A few handpicked journalists from the car-enthusiast outlets Top Gear and Hagerty were given access to the Cybertruck so they could film slick videos of the truck, demonstrating its acceleration and unique steer-by-wire capabilities.

A star tech reviewer, Marques Brownlee, was also given access to the truck. By Friday, he had racked up more than 17 million views for his video on YouTube exploring its interior and exterior with the detailed approach that he brings to the latest iPhones each year. “I’m impressed,” he declared.

Separately, on X, he posted: “Tesla Cybertruck is notably the first time that Tesla is straight up not delivering on some of the key specs they promised.”

Influencers who weren’t given test drives were left filming themselves, some talking about the Cybertruck’s misses—even if they still expressed love for Musk and, in some cases, said they might still buy the vehicle.

Dan Markham, in a video posted on YouTube, expressed his disappointment with the truck’s range. “Not everything can be what they dream up at the beginning,” he said, “but it feels like a massive miss.”

One X user known as The Tesla Hoe posted critiques about the day itself, even as she shared overall excitement for the truck and pictures of herself at the event.

“They didn’t let us sit in the Cybertruck,” she posted on X to her almost 9,000 followers. “We also got in trouble if we touched the screen. I just feel like we left feeling like things are still being kept secret from us. Idk it felt off.”

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