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Are Strong Sales of Model Y to Blame for the Delayed Production of the Tesla Cybertruck?

published: 2021-08-10 15:48

Whilst Tesla had originally planned to kick off mass production of its all-electric Cybertruck by the end of 2021, the company’s official website quiet made changes to the announcement on August 8 and indicated a delay in Cybertruck production, with one of the reasons speculated to be the ongoing shortage of the Model Y.

Tesla has received more than one million preorders for its electric truck dubbed Cybertruck, first announced at the end of 2019. It now appears likely that plans for delivery by the end of 2021 are about to go awry.

Some outlets recently reported that Tesla may be forced by the current chip shortage to delay the production of its Cybertruck until 2022. Now certain foreign media have found indisputable evidence of the aforementioned report.

On the Cybertruck preorder page on Tesla’s official website, customers can customize their Cybertruck’s specs prior to production, which was originally set to take place by the end of 2021, but Tesla quietly changed the fine print on the website on August 8th; the page now indicates a 2022 production time.

▲ Mass production has been deferred to 2022 according to the bottom right part of the website (Source: Tesla)

As this model is wildly popular, markets and media have been intensely speculating on its lead times. At the beginning of this year, Musk forecasted the ability for Tesla to make a small batch of deliveries by the end of this year and kick off mass production at scale next year, though a delay in these dates appear likely at this point.

Issues with the chip and battery supply chains have consistently impacted automakers’ plans for mass producing EVs. For instance, Tesla once claimed that it can eschew problems with timely vehicle delivery by rewriting said vehicles’ firmware to be compatible with other automotive chips. In so doing, Tesla is looking to set yet another record in terms of annual vehicle deliveries this year.

However, the other reason for the delay in Cybertruck production most likely has to do with the Model Y.

Tesla’s Texas Gigafactory, which is expected to manufacture the Cybertruck, shoulders the glorious burden of mass producing the bestselling Model Y. Pictures of the Texas Gigafactory released previously show single-piece die casting machines for Model Y. Given the limited resources available, if push comes to shove, Tesla will not prioritize manufacturing the Cybertruck.

Tesla’s Vice President of Vehicle Engineering Lars Moravy previously mentioned that the Cybertruck will enter beta production this year, but raising the production capacity for Model Y to meet surging demand remains Tesla’s current priority.

Certain rumors stated that all Model Y vehicles available for 3Q21 were sold out by June. In other words, all Model Ys manufactured until September are allocated for fulfilling orders from clients that placed said orders before June. Although Tesla has since raised the retail price of Model Y by US$3,500, the sky-high demand has yet to show signs of weakening.

Perhaps Musk miscalculated the Cybertruck’s lead times, though he accurately forecasted sales of the Model Y. During Tesla’s 1Q21 earnings call, Musk made the prediction that the Model Y will become the top selling vehicle in the world in 2022.

Realistically, Musk’s claim is not outside the realms of possibility. Should Tesla make good progress on the construction of Gigafactories in Berlin and Texas, in addition to wrapping up the build-out of the Shanghai plant, in 2022, the automaker would then have a production capacity of nearly one million Model Y vehicles per year, which is not far off from Toyota’s production capacity of 1.12 million Corolla (Altis) vehicles per year.

 (Image: Tesla)

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