Musk: Cybertruck mass production will not start this year

On Wednesday’s fourth-quarter 2021 earnings call, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company won’t launch any new models this year, nor will it launch the Cybertruck, Semi and Production work on the Roadster. He said it “doesn’t make any sense” to launch a new car at this stage.

That confirms a rumor from earlier this month that Tesla Inc. has delayed plans to start production of its electric pickup Cybertruck later this year, and now aims to start the first production of the Cybertruck by the end of the first quarter of 2023.

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Tesla is tweaking the Cybertruck’s features and capabilities to create an attractive product amid growing competition in the electric pickup space, people familiar with the matter said. Tesla expects to start limited production of the Cybertruck in the first quarter of 2023 and increase production later.

At the earnings conference, Musk said that once a new car is launched this year, it will inevitably affect the company’s total production, thereby reducing profits. It’s the same reason why no new cars will be launched in 2021: The resources needed to launch new models will take Tesla to maximum capacity, affecting its ability to produce its popular Model 3 and Model Y electric vehicles.

Tesla is also facing a shortage of chips. Musk said: “If we launched a new car last year, the total vehicle production would be the same due to chip constraints.” Due to the complexity of launching a car, fewer vehicles are actually delivered.

Speaking of the Cybertruck, Musk said the battery unit isn’t the only limiting factor in mass production, and the pickup has “a lot of technology to work out.” Musk added that Tesla was having trouble keeping the Cybertruck’s price low, and he wondered “how do we make the Cybertruck affordable?” The Cybertruck was supposed to start at around $40,000.

However, Musk said he would start engineering and tooling for the Cybertruck, Semi and Roadster this year so that production of these models could begin next year. But based on profits and deliveries, Tesla adjusts vehicle production based on the situation. Musk also said that the most important product it developed this year was not a car, but the humanoid robot it teased last year, now called Optimus.

Tesla did have a major success in the fourth quarter of 2021, with over $1 billion in revenue. But as Musk said, part of that profitability is the absence of new vehicles, with the brand focusing on its most successful vehicles. Compared with last year, production of the more affordable Model 3 and Model Y increased by 79%, while the Model S and Model X fell by 19%.

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