Elon Musk had the entire automotive world abuzz about Tesla’s first truck design. From design freaks to wanna be green building contractors, all were awaiting the unveiling of their electric Tesla truck aspirations. And what did they see? A DMC DeLorean/Hummer mashup accented with a dash of Cayenne. Tesla’s first “cyber truck” is a toy for the luxury market. Mr. Musk completely ignored the people that were dreaming of driving their torqued-up high-toned truck to their job Monday through Friday and church on Sunday. If this vehicle had been designed right, it would have allowed Tesla entry into a new segment of the market. The wealthy blue collar worker. The people that craft our living and working spaces and enjoy craft brewed IPAs.
The truck’s design did not have to reflect the familiar lines of today’s working diesel powerhouse trucks. It simply had to have a unique Tesla look to make a statement as a mobile, jobsite office. Showing that a company, perhaps a contractor or landscaper, is successful and thinking green. The gadget that Tesla will send to market looks more like a toy purchased to show off by someone who thinks work is having to carry their cases of wine to the car.
Tesla is a luxury brand and a significant amount of luxury brand sales are to customers trading up. This step-up customer becomes enamoured with a certain brand’s specific product and will do what it takes to bring it home. I have seen flatbeds, US Army Jeeps and Dodge Power Wagons in elegant automobile collections but never an Escalade at a will call counter.
For Mr. Monk, a visionary who prides himself on engineering a better way, this vehicle was a startling turnabout. With SpaceX, The Boring Company, Neuralink and OpenAI, he is working to disrupt the status quo and make the impossible possible. This Tesla truck strays off that path and that is a shame.
I think this is a big moment lost for Mr. Musk. I admire a lot of what they have accomplished but this Tesla Truck is a missed opportunity to take the Tesla brand into a new and very loyal market.
P.S. This professional market purchases its trucks for their business and that would have made the purchase tax deductible.
Seth Godin’s interesting Tesla thoughts, “Attention vs. the chasm“