At this point, few people can honestly say they don’t like the Tesla Cybertruck. Many of us scratched heads when it first was shown in the round, but came around in due time.
That didn’t stop a recent interview for Automotive News from pressing Elon Musk on the possibility of a failed Cybertruck launch. In true Tesla CEO fashion, Musk responded with level 11 confidence, not pulling any punches in regards to Porsche and Ford.
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, 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.
Not only did Musk assure people that the Cybertruck will be an amazing vehicle, better than the leaders in multiple different segments, but he also waved away concerns with the notion they will just adapt and overcome. If they don’t sell crazy trucks, they’ll just make a superior “copycat truck.”
The goal is to kick the most amount of ass possible with this truck… If they like the Cybertruck, cool. If they don’t, yeah. We’re not trying to play some marketing game. We’re just trying to create products that people will love.
One common thread in Tesla’s mission, is their lack of traditional marketing. It’s clear they are a massive disruptor, and aren’t beholden to the typical frivolous practices of their competitors. If other manufacturers would have spent their billions of advertising on battery research, maybe all of their customers wouldn’t be jumping ship for Tesla.
As Musk put it, “Tesla’s worth twice as much as the rest of the U.S. auto industry combined.” Maybe if they weren’t sleeping on batteries while trying to convince us the newest Chevy truck or F-150 was worth money, that wouldn’t be the case.
On the other hand, Musk sent signals regarding a certain company that might give them some competition in the E-Truck market, Rivian. In July, Tesla sent a lawsuit Rivian’s way, alleging that the latter was violating their intellectual property and trade secrets via predatory hiring practices.
They’ve taken a bunch of Tesla intellectual property on thumb drives and on computers and stuff. It’s not cool to steal our IP and for people to violate their confidentiality agreements. They’re doing bad things, so we sued them.
As someone who could see themselves in a Rivian as much as a Cybertruck, these new allegations point towards a serious rivalry that could spur compelling products from both sides. It’s reminiscent of the Apple V. Samsung cases, that definitely didn’t see a settlement paid in nickels.