“We are between two major waves of growth.”
Elon Musk’s Tesla won’t return to the high growth rates it achieved last year until its still-in-development prototype arrives — and not even the highly anticipated Cybertruck can change that.
The stainless steel truck, Tesla’s first new vehicle since the Model Y was launched in March 2020, has been a major pillar of investor hope ahead of the November 30 delivery event, where the final price and specifications of the vehicle are expected to be revealed.
Its engineering has proven to be extremely complex, however, and Musk warned last month that it would only be halfway through year-over-year before it could even achieve a daily production run rate of 250,000 trucks per year, meaning that even then it would likely Production would be much lower. This number is in 2025.
Meanwhile, Tesla will have to rely on its existing lineup of older models than ever before, led by the base 3 midsize sedan and Y crossover that together account for more than nine out of 10 Tesla vehicles sold. To prevent sales from declining as it shifted from its traditional customer base of early adopters to serving the average everyday car buyer, Musk was forced to cut prices and lose profits.
“Tesla frankly admitted that the company is now going through an intermediate period of low growth,” wrote Deutsche Bank analyst Emanuel Rosner, citing a meeting with its head of investor relations, Martin Visha.
This puts pressure on the next-generation platform to deliver on Tesla’s high growth ambitions. This vehicle architecture is expected to support a whole new range of models, starting with what is believed to be a custom robotic truck and a $25,000 car.
At the annual general meeting in May, Musk estimated that the duo could account for 5 million electric vehicles annually, more than double the forecast of 1.8 million for the entire company this year.
There is no rendering, diagram, or indication of what the car will look like
Vicha confirmed his statements to investors on social media, to publish “We are between two major waves of growth.”
When the $25,000 model will launch this next phase of growth is anyone’s guess at this point. Musk refuses to go all out to build his fifth auto factory in Mexico where the low-cost car will be manufactured.
Speculation has now emerged that Tesla’s two currently underutilized factories in Texas and Germany could begin producing the model before the new Gigafactory comes online.
“While Tesla was not prepared to discuss the timing of the next-generation vehicle, or its original assembly location, it indicated that the internal timeline remains unchanged and on track,” Deutsche’s Rosner added.
At the company’s investor day in March, Vice President of Engineering Lars Moravy hinted that it might take two years. This roughly coincides with Musk’s financier Ron Barron’s prediction last week that the model would be 12 to 18 months away.
However, automakers usually at least tease the design up front, if not the entire car. The Semi and Cybertruck, currently undergoing initial test production, were unveiled at the end of 2017 and late 2019, respectively. The seemingly logical conclusion is that Tesla has not yet approved the final design for its low-cost car.
However, Musk may be holding off, as he is still so singularly reliant on the 3 and Y for sales that he can’t afford customers to put off buying a new car in the expectation that a more convenient Tesla model will be around the corner.
This story originally appeared on Fortune.com