The Tesla Cybertruck was one of last year's most important launches for the American automotive world, not only in terms of style, but also in terms of significance. It marked the arrival of the world's first electric car brand in the pick-up segment. This event did not have a global impact, as this type of vehicle is not popular outside North America. Although other markets such as Thailand, South Africa, South America and Australia are keen on pick-ups, these are smaller models than the Cybertruck.

The first units of the Tesla Cybertruck were delivered in December 2023. How are sales going so far?

First of all, it's important to add that after three months since sales opened, it's still too early to draw any conclusions about a car's commercial performance. Each model is different, and each market has its own dynamics. Product availability also plays a role. Despite this, we can already see trends that may anticipate the months ahead.

2,800 units in three months

According to data from JATO Dynamics, the Tesla Cybertruck sold 2,803 units in the United States between January and March this year. Of these, 869 were sold in January, 925 in February and 1,009 in March. So the trend is upwards, but it's very slow, leaving more questions than answers about the success of this strange pick-up.

By way of comparison, during the same period, Tesla sold 140,200 cars between the Model 3, the Model Y, the Model S, the Model X and the Cybertruck. This means that the much-criticised pick-up accounted for just 2% of the total number of Tesla cars sold in the United States. That's very little considering all the media coverage it has received since its introduction. The level of sales of the Tesla Cybertruck is also low when you consider that this is the large pick-up segment, which is very popular in the United States.

Motor1 Numbers : ventes du Tesla Cybertruck

Sales of various Tesla models, 1st quarter 2024

The problem, although it's too early to see it as such, is the powertrain. Electric cars in general don't appeal to the majority of American consumers. They simply find them very expensive and difficult to recharge. In this respect, JATO has carried out a study into the reasons why Americans want to continue driving on petrol.

Between January and March this year, 595,400  pick-ups were sold in the United States. Nearly 540,000 of these were equipped with petrol or mild-hybrid engines, and 41,500 with hybrid engines. Electric pick-ups accounted for 14,200 units, or 2.3% of the segment total. A clear example of consumers' taste for this type of car.

Sales of pickup trucks and motorised trucks Q1 2024 - graphic

Sales of pickup trucks and motorised trucks Q1 2024 - graphic

Second best seller

Despite the lack of public interest in electric pick-ups, the Tesla Cybertruck is already the second best-seller of March. The Ford F-150 Lightning remains first, with 7,335 units sold in the first quarter, representing 8.7% of total sales across all engines available for this model. The third best-seller was the Rivian R1T, with 2,737 units.

Electric pickup sales in the USA Q1 2024 - graphic

Electric pickup sales in the USA Q1 2024 - graphic

To be honest, electric cars are struggling to gain a foothold in the US. Add to that the fact that the pick-up segment is historically very petrol-focused, and you get results like these. Can the Cybertruck buck this trend and make the electric pick-up a fashionable vehicle, as the Model 3 and Y have done in their respective segments? We'll have to wait and see.

The author of this article, Felipe Munoz, is an automotive industry specialist at JATO Dynamics.