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Elon Musk tempers Tesla Cybertruck ramp expectations; immediately gets misunderstood by analyst

Credit: @TeslaCarey/X

Elon Musk proved cautious during Tesla’s Q3 2023 earnings call, stating that while the Cybertruck is about to enter production, it would take about 18 months before the vehicle becomes a key positive cash flow contributor to the electric vehicle maker. Amusingly enough, Musk’s statement ended up being misunderstood by an analyst during the same earnings call. 

Musk’s opening remarks were quite direct, with the CEO stating that while the Cybertruck is a great product, it would take some time to ramp. This was despite the fact that the Cybertruck has a lot of demand, with over 1 million people placing a reservation for the all-electric pickup truck. 

“I just want to temper expectations for Cybertruck. It’s a great product, but financially, it will take a year to 18 months before it is a significant positive cash flow contributor. I wish there was some way for that to be different, but that’s my best guess. So, really, the demand is off the charts. We have over 1 million people who have reserved the car,” Musk said

Musk’s comments, as well as the fact that Cybertruck would see its first deliveries on November 30, suggested that the vehicle might become a positive cash flow contributor to Tesla sometime in 2025. This, unfortunately, appears to have been interpreted by some as the Cybertruck ramping to a significant volume only in its third year of production. 

Will Stein from Truist Securities asked such a question during the earnings call. “We learned earlier on the call, it sounds like you don’t think the truck will ramp to significant volume until its third year of production. Should we have a similar anticipation for the ramp of the next-gen platform?” the analyst asked. 

Musk ended up clarifying that his comments did not mean that the Cybertruck would be ramped in the vehicle’s third year of production. Instead, Musk noted that his comments simply meant that the Cybertruck’s ramp could be achieved in its 18th month of production, which just so happens to be in the third calendar year from today. He noted that it would be disappointing if the Cybertruck took three years to ramp. 

“To be clear, it’s not really the third year of production. It’s kind of like the 18th month of production is roughly my guess. So, it’s just that they happen — it will happen — is that it starts this year, spans next year, and gets to 2025. So, technically, there are three calendar years in there, but there’s actually only 18 months, not three years. I would be very disappointed if it took us — and that would be shocking if it took us three years, but 18 months from initial deliveries to reach volume and reach prosperity,” Musk said. 

The CEO highlighted that there is a unique complexity to the Cybertruck. Thus, the ramp of other vehicles like the next-generation platform would likely not be as challenging, especially since it would be a car that’s designed to be produced as quickly and as simply as possible. 

Check out our coverage of Tesla’s Q3 2023 Update Letter here

Check out our Q3 earnings call Live Blog, which contains our live coverage of the event, here

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Elon Musk tempers Tesla Cybertruck ramp expectations; immediately gets misunderstood by analyst
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