Autos

Cramer compares the Tesla Cybertruck to the spectacular failure of the Ford Edsel 60 years ago

Key Points
  • CNBC's Jim Cramer compares Tesla's all-electric Cybertruck pickup to Ford's failed attempt at innovation with the Edsel.
  • The Edsel was heralded as the "car of the future" when it debuted in 1957 but ultimately failed.
  • "I just think it's going to be a bit of a bust," the "Mad Money" host says of the Cybertruck. "I'm calling it the E-Edsel."
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Cramer compares the Tesla Cybertruck to the spectacular failure of the Ford Edsel

CNBC's Jim Cramer likens Tesla's newly announced all-electric Cybertruck pickup to Ford's failed attempt with the Edsel to create a futuristic car 60 years ago.

"I just think it's going to be a bit of a bust," Cramer said Friday, a day after Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled the hyperangular Cybertruck in Los Angeles. "I'm calling it the E-Edsel."

The Edsel was heralded as the "car of the future," when it debuted in 1957 to incredible hype. Singer Frank Sinatra hosted an hour-long television special at the time to introduce the car. However, by 1960, Ford ended production of the Esdel after it was rejected by the car-buying public, in one of the biggest marketing flops ever.

Tesla didn't respond to a CNBC request for comment.

The Edsel was produced by the Ford Motor Company between 1957 and 1959 and was intended to fill the supposed gap between the Ford and Mercury lines.
Science & Society Picture Library | SSPL | Getty Images

As for the Cybertruck, it will start at $39,900 and its design is akin to a large metallic trapezoid. Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi wrote that it "looks weird ... like, really weird," which seemed to sum up the critical commentary and jokes on the internet.

Musk, who has teased a Tesla truck going back to last summer, revealed the pickup with much fanfare — and a little embarrassment. The Telsa CEO said the truck was "bulletproof" against a 9mm handgun, except when he had the automaker's chief designer throw a metal ball at two windows, the "armor" glass smashed not once but twice.

"I'm going to say that was a suboptimal launch," Cramer said of the glass-shattering spectacle. But ultimately, the "Mad Money" host said the difficulties Tesla will face with the Cybertruck are about the broader pickup truck market, which has expanded in recent years as overall auto sales began to decline.

"It's just not going to dent the Ford, GM, Chrysler, Dodge hammerlock on the best part of the entire market," said Cramer, who also compared the Cybertruck to the DeLorean sports car, of "Back to the Future" fame.

"That was a niche product," he added. "I think the trick to trucks is that they all look like each other. That's what people want, and this does not look like anything."

Whether or not consumers like it may not be known for a while. Production may not begin until late 2021.

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Key Points
  • Wall Street analysts are all talking about the dramatic styling of Tesla's Cybertruck.
  • "Tesla's Cybertruck looks weird … like, really weird," a Bernstein analyst says.
  • Credit Suisse says companies like Ford and General Motors "can breathe a sigh of relief."
  • "We were still surprised how futuristic he went with this one and believe it may shatter his dreams," Cowen says.