Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) took another tumble on Thursday, falling 3.6% through 11:10 a.m. ET in response to a couple of negative news items.
Biggest news first: Tesla’s electric Cybertruck, which was first unveiled in 2019 with a promise of production by 2021, obviously missed that deadline. Tesla subsequently suggested Cybertrucks might be available for purchase by 2022, but now, even that’s in doubt.
As automotive industry website Edmunds.com pointed out last week, and TheVerge.com re-reported today, “reference to a 2022 production schedule [for Cybertruck] was scrubbed” from Tesla’s website last week. Instead of the promise that “you will be able to complete your configuration as production nears in 2022,” the site now says simply that “you will be able to complete your configuration as production nears” — with no indication of how near to production Cybertruck actually is.
Separately and unrelated to the first story, The New York Post reported yesterday afternoon that a 19-year-old German “IT specialist” is claiming he has successfully hacked into “25 Tesla vehicles across 13 countries” and been able to “turn on their radios, flash their headlights and even start their engines and begin keyless driving” remotely.
Now, the second story sounds more alarming — but according to the hacker in question, his hacking success was not tied to any “vulnerability in Tesla’s infrastructure.” Rather, it was due to some basic precaution that the car owners apparently failed to follow — akin to a computer user failing to turn on their antivirus software.
The continued delays in Cybertruck’s arrival, on the other hand, seem a greater risk to Tesla stock. On the one hand, as The Verge points out, Cybertruck may simply be “a relatively low priority” for Tesla right now. Given that Tesla is already having trouble just keeping up with “fantastic” demand for its Model 3 and Model Y electric cars, bringing Cybertruck to market too soon might simply interfere with Tesla’s other, more immediate production goals.
That being said, the longer Tesla waits to introduce Cybertruck for sale, the more time General Motors and Ford Motor Company will have to grab market share for their own electric pickups, and the more room to maneuver for Rivian Automotive as well. The longer Tesla waits, the more Cybertruck pre-orders will vanish from its order books.
And if Tesla waits too long, it may find itself shut out of the electric truck market entirely, and confined to building electric cars and SUVs forevermore.
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