Elon Musk’s New Cybertruck Shows His Pretoria Roots, Say South Africans

Elon Musk’s launch of his Tesla Inc futuristic Cybertruck pickup suffered a setback when its “armoured glass” windows shattered during a presentation, but it was the overall look of the car that attracted the most comments and worried Wall Street on Friday… with the company’s shares falling more than 6%.

Elon Musk cybertruck bakkie
Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk stands in front of the cracked windows of company’s first electric pickup truck, the Cybertruck, after it was unveiled and a metal ball was thrown at the windows, in Los Angeles, California U.S., November 21, 2019, in this frame grab made from the livestream of the unveiling event. Tesla/Handout via REUTERS.

Online critics made fun of the space-craft style design of the truck, which has a starting price of $39,900.

“I wish Elon Musk hadn’t blocked me on Twitter after I said his Mars colonization idea was dumb, so I could tell him how ugly his new #Cybertruck is,” tweeted author @MarkDice, who has 1.5 million YouTube followers.

“Just make a normal truck,” added another user.


South Africans however were not surprised by the South African expat’s newest vehicle!

Former Editor-in-Chief at Mail & Guardian, Chris Roper, said: “Oh my word. @elonmusk has gone full Pretoria. A Tesla bakkie. There even appears to be a Tesla caravan.”

tesla caravan bakkie
A bakkie in gold is still a bakkie…

On looking at the picture again, Roper said: “I’ve just realised that the best thing about that bakkie is that it’s vegan. The tailgate is being used to get the braai stuff together, but not a tjop or dop in sight. Only vegetables and fruit.”

Another South African joked: “The Tesla skottle and Tesla coolbox are nice accessories to add, but the Tesla stokies are, imo, too much.”

Bruce Whitfield joked: “You can take the boy out of Pretoria…”

An American fan supported Musk’s creation saying: “Yes, it looks like a retro version of the future. It’s supposed to. The incredibly simple body lines will lead to incredibly simple manufacturing, while keeping the focus on its performance.”

In the much-anticipated unveiling to cheering fans late on Thursday, Tesla boss Musk had taken aim at the design, power and durability of mainstream trucks, only to be shaken when his boast about his new vehicle’s windows backfired.

“Oh my f***ing G*d, well, maybe that was a little too hard,” Musk said, when his head of design, Franz von Holzhausen, cracked the driver’s side window with a metal ball in a series of tests for the crowd at the event in Los Angeles.

Elon Musk cybertruck bakkie
Nov 21, 2019; Hawthorne, CA, U.S.A; Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveils the Cybertruck at the TeslaDesign Studio in Hawthorne, Calif. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY

He allowed von Holzhausen another throw to the rear passenger window, only to see that crack as well.

“It didn’t go through, so that’s a plus side,” Musk said, adding: “Room for improvement.”

Musk singled out the Ford F-150, the top-selling vehicle in the United States, to highlight the capabilities of the Cybertruck, showing an edited video of the two trucks in a back-to-back “tug-of-war” in which the Tesla truck wins.

Some Wall Street analysts praised the launch on Friday, but others doubted the futuristic design’s mass appeal. Tesla shares were down while Ford shares rose around 1%.

“Musk has been enthusiastic about his Blade Runner-inspired design for months, but we were still surprised how futuristic he went with this one and believe it may shatter his dreams,” Cowen analysts wrote in a note.

Elon Musk cybertruck bakkie
The Cybertruck, Tesla’s first electric pickup truck, is seen in this undated handout picture released by the company. Tesla/Handout via REUTERS.

“While we are pleased to see Tesla enter the most profitable segment of the North American passenger car market, we do not see this vehicle in its current form being a success.”

The U.S. pickup truck market is one of the world’s most profitable vehicle segments and is dominated by Ford, General Motors Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.

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(Reporting by Jenni Baxter/SAPeople and Naomi Tajitsu in Tokyo and Nick Carey in Detroit / Reuters; Editing by Patrick Graham and Dan Grebler/Reuters and Jenni Baxter/SAPeople)