Tesla (TSLA) Skeptics and Optimists from Wall Street Weigh in on Elon Musk's 'Cybertruck' Pickup


Tesla’s Cybertruck unveiling is just a few hours away, and Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) analysts don’t seem to have anything new to say about the all-electric automaker’s next-gen pickup. Those skeptical of Tesla are also skeptical of Elon Musk’s Blade Runner-inspired truck. However, TSLA bulls remain strong in their faith that Elon Musk will deliver an unforgettable vehicle during the unveiling. 

Elon Musk has pretty kept mum about the final details of his Cybertruck, which is the main reason TSLA analysts can’t seem to make a concrete forecast about the upcoming vehicle. A few unofficial details about Musk’s futuristic pickup truck have been released—some by the CEO himself—but nothing has actually been confirmed yet. 

Without precise details, analysts can’t really predict the Cybertruck’s reception from the pickup truck community. As such, there remains the usual divide when it comes to TSLA: the skeptics and the optimists.


The Skeptics

Emmanual Rosner from Deutsche Bank, Dan Levy from Credit Suisse, and Dan Ives from Wedbush remain skeptical about the Cybertruck's success. 

“We expect focus to be on how well the actual design resonates with pickup buyers,” said Rosner as per Barrons. A Rosner quote reported by Yahoo clarified his first statement, “We think [design] could carry the risk of not attracting traditional pickup buyers, leaving it a lower-volume niche product,” he added. 

The Deutsche Bank analyst’s words suggest that there the performance, specs, and design of the Cybertruck will determine its success in the market. Pickup trucks have a loyal consumer base. It is very difficult to break through those established loyalties, but Tesla will have to do it to break into the market and turn a profit. 

Dan Levy remains skeptical that Tesla can breach the pickup market with its Cybertruck. “Large pickup segment loyalty is greater than 70 percent, 30 [percentage points] higher than any other [light vehicle] segment,” said Levy. The Credit Suisse analyst said Tesla’s “main event” was the Model 3 and Y.

Based on a PR Newswire report, US pickup truck sales have seen continued growth for almost 20 years. Truck sales have grown to more than US$98 million in 2019, doubling profits made since 2010. In order to contribute to the American pickup truck industry, Tesla will have to meet demand, which Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives brought up in a note.

“Another focus of our will be any commentary about how Tesla plans to produce this new model, with some current models having a lot of similar parts and thus being able to utilize the same production line [Fremont and Giga], thus we have questions on how, where, if the Cybertruck will fit on the factory production and tooling line,” said Ives.

The comments and queries of Rosner, Levy, and Ives only support the need for more information on the Cybertruck to be released before any real analysis can begin. However, it can also be argued that these skeptics are seeing a glass that's half-empty.


The Optimists

Toni Sacconaghi from Bernstein and Ben Kallo from Baird seemed to view the Cybertruck through a glass that's half-full. Both Sacconaghi and Kallo seem to have a positive outlook on Tesla’s future in the automotive industry. 

Speaking about the Cybertruck specifically, Sacconaghi said, “The pickup may be a niche product, but the addressable market is large. The global market for pickup trucks [priced higher than] US$30,000 is about 2.5 to 3 million units.” Based on Sacconaghi’s words, the Bernstein analyst seems to think the pickup truck market is big enough for Tesla’s Cybertruck to find a consumer base. 

Baird analyst Ben Kallo did not talk about Tesla’s Cybertruck specifically in his most recent research report, but he makes a general forecast about the all-electric automaker’s future. In his note, Kallo hypothesized that Tesla’s new vehicles would move TSLA prices higher.  

The vague details that have been released to the public relate to the Cybertruck’s price, performance, and design, reported The Verge. As per Elon Musk, Tesla's truck will start at around US$49,000, lower than some of its speculated competitors like the Rivian R1T. It will perform like a Porsche but have the utility of a Ford F-150. 

Elon Musk teased that the Cybertruck would have 240V outlets for power tools and could have a 300K-pound towing capacity. The base model might have a 300-mile range, while the mid- to top-tier models could get up to 400 to 500 miles of range. On top of all of this, Musk’s next-gen all-electric truck will have a sleek, futuristic design, like those seen in Blade Runner.

Even hardcore TSLA bulls might have a hard time believing all the rumors going around about Tesla’s Cybertruck. Vague details are almost as useful as no details at all. Fortunately, these questions are about to get addressed today, as Tesla unveils what could very well be its most ambitious, most out-of-the-box vehicle to date. 

Featured Image Credit: DirtyTesla/Twitter

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About the Author

Claribelle Deveza

Claribelle Deveza

Longtime writer and news/book editor. Writing about Tesla allows me to contribute something good to the world, while doing something I love.

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