Elon Musk said Sunday night that Tesla received 200,000 “orders” for its Cybertruck, following an embarrassing debut.
Hours earlier, Musk tweeted that Tesla had received 187,000 “orders.” A prospective Cybertruck owner must pay Tesla a refundable, $100 “preorder fee.” In his boastful tweet on Saturday, Musk conflated orders with preorders, which are distinct from a final commitments to purchase the Cybertruck.
On Saturday, the CEO wrote: “146k Cybertruck orders so far, with 42% choosing dual, 41% tri & 17% single motor.”
According to the Cybertruck Motor Vehicle Pre-Order Agreement on Tesla’s website on Saturday, this fee is fully refundable. But to actually purchase the Bladerunner-inspired Tesla Cybertruck, customers also have to take other steps:
“After you submit your completed pre-order and the options you selected become available in production, we will invite you to complete the configuration of your Vehicle. We will then issue you the Vehicle Configuration and Final Price Sheet based on the base price of the model and any options included or that you select.”
It’s less costly to preorder a Cybertruck than it has been to order previous electric vehicles unveiled by Tesla.
For example, to preorder one of Tesla’s forthcoming crossover SUVs, the Model Y, customers had to lay down a heftier $2,500 deposit. In 2016, Tesla took preorders for the Model 3 at $1,000 a pop.
On its most recent earnings call, Musk said: “I’ve actually recently driven the Model Y release candidate and think it’s going to be an amazing product and be very well received. I think it’s quite likely to — just my opinion, but I think it will outsell Model S, Model X and Model 3 combined.”
However, Tesla and Musk have not revealed how many preorders they have received for the Model Y.
During the second quarter of 2018, Tesla said in a shareholder update that Model 3 preorders had surpassed 450,000. But the company never disclosed a precise number or said what percent of reservations ultimately converted to new Model 3 sales for Tesla.
No matter the take rate, preorders for the Cybertruck are one indication that Tesla’s marketing game remains strong as ever. Tesla unveiled its Cybertruck design and specifications at a promotional event in Los Angeles on Thursday. The vehicle looks like a big metallic trapezoid and has a starting price of $39,900.
At the unveiling, Musk tried to showcase the Cybertruck’s durability by having the company’s design chief hurl a metal ball at one of the Cybertruck’s armored glass windows. The window ended up cracking. Then another ball was thrown at another window and it shattered, too.
“We threw wrenches, we threw everything even literally the kitchen sink at the glass and it didn’t break. For some weird reason, it broke now,” a humorous Musk said at the event. “I don’t know why. We will fix it in post.” The stunt helped make the Cybertruck the subject of memes and media coverage around the world.
Some Wall Street analysts were critical of the truck’s extreme style, while others speculated that the design could be a primary selling point for Tesla.
Tesla shares fell 6.1% in Friday trading to close at $333.04.
“The shattering of the truck’s unbreakable glass windows during the live demonstration was not a good start,” Deutsche Bank said in a note.
The Cybertruck is Tesla’s sixth electric vehicle model since the company was founded in 2003. It was seen as a potential competitor to best selling pickups like the Ford F Series and General Motor’s Chevrolet Silverado, before its debut.
However, after the edgy design was revealed, some analysts said that they view Tesla’s truck as more of a niche product.
“Tesla tried to throw a lot of stones at the legacy pickups on the market, with Tesla highlighting advantages in durability, towing, payload, and 0-60,” Credit Suisse wrote in a note. “Yet we think the legacy OEMs can breathe a sigh of relief, as we don’t expect Cybertruck to encroach on large pickup share.”