Tesla has had a unique strategy with the all-electric Cybertruck since it was first unveiled four years ago in Los Angeles. It might be the best advertisement there is.
For the past few years, Tesla has not tipped its hand with certain details regarding the pickup, and some might argue they are the most crucial parts of a vehicle’s buildup, especially for an EV: price, trim levels, and range.
It is an ongoing strategy that has been keeping the Cybertruck in the public discussion of the entire automotive sector for the last few years as the prices have gone from $39,990, $49,990, and $69,990, to whatever your best guess is.
A company that has been headstrong against the prospect of advertising, Tesla knows how to stimulate consumer discussion around itself. After all, its CEO Elon Musk also owns X, which less than a year ago was known as Twitter. Musk is no stranger to being in a headline, and he knows how to get people talking. Perhaps a genius in advertising, too, the CEO has everyone buzzing about what the Cybertruck will cost and how long it will go on a single charge.
But this might be exactly the buzz Tesla and Musk want, even if it is keeping the most loyal fans in the dark about the particulars of what is its most unique vehicle yet. Even those who are not EV enthusiasts and have no interest in the Cybertruck want to know what a stainless steel-covered pickup will cost and what its capabilities are.
Instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads and millions more on an general advertising budget, there is the advantage of curiosity that Tesla has shamelessly adopted and used to its advantage, all leading up to this Thursday. It is no secret that pricing is likely going to be different than what it was in 2019. Too much has changed from a macroeconomic perspective.
But the jury is still deliberating on what this strategy entails. Has it worked on creating buzz? Obviously. Is it fair to the consumer? Not necessarily.
There are no products that come to mind for me when I think of an imminent launch and lack of details in terms of pricing and capabilities. Imagine if Apple reworked the iPhone and decided to keep the price a secret, at least until hundreds of people lined up outside of their stores and showed up to buy it, only guessing what their credit card bill would be the following month.
With a car, it’s obviously different. It’s a long-term payment structure because the truck is going to cost tens of thousands, much more than an iPhone. Even still, this argument can be used to support the counterargument: if people are going to spend this much on a vehicle, isn’t there a reason for them to have an idea of how much they will pay?
This leads to several ideas about the delivery event this Thursday in Austin. As the Cybertruck’s Certificate of Conformity, Certificate Information, and Application have yet to be published by the EPA, it is interesting to think about who exactly will be taking delivery of the Cybertruck this week. It might be influencers who were sworn to secrecy by an NDA, it could be employees, and of course, it could be regular people who just happened to place a reservation very early, perhaps just moments after the configurator was launched.
Whoever does get their hands on an early Cybertruck build will be lucky, as rumors of between 10 and 30 units being delivered on Thursday have both circulated. There are at least a million orders for the Cybertruck, Musk said on the most recent Earnings Call.
No matter what happens, the Cybertruck has been an advertisement in itself, and it has concentrated the entire automotive industry’s attention this week. All eyes are on Tesla and the Cybertruck, as a vehicle four years in the making is finally here, and it is perhaps the best advertisement the automaker could have ever had for itself.