Shares of Tesla Inc opened higher on Monday after Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk tweeted over the weekend that the company had already received 200,000 orders for its futuristic pick-up truck Cybertruck.
At a launch event in Los Angeles last week, Musk said the Cybertruck will have a starting price of $39,900 and production is expected to begin in late 2021.
Other versions will be priced at $49,900 and $69,900 with the most expensive offering a range of more than 804 kilometres (500 miles).
“We need sustainable energy now. If we don’t have a pick-up truck, we can’t solve it. The top three selling vehicles in America are pick-up trucks. To solve sustainable energy, we have to have a pick-up truck,” he said at the unveiling.
The truck, which Musk claimed “won’t scratch and dent”, was described as having windows made from armoured glass. But the glass cracked like a spider’s web when hit with a metal ball during a demonstration. Musk appeared surprised but noted that the glass had not completely broken.
Though the new truck failed to impress Wall Street with analysts arguing that the design would not have mass appeal, Tesla opened preorders immediately.
The company is allowing potential buyers to book the truck by depositing just $100, compared with $1,000 Tesla charged for booking Model 3 sedans in 2016, drawing the flood of reservations and sending the company’s shares back up on Monday.
The Silicon Valley carmaker received orders for the Model 3 in the first week of bookings three years ago, and the initial number for the trucks suggested preorders could rival that.
Shares of Tesla were up more than 2.5 percent in morning trading in New York.
From touting the features of the new vehicle to taking a dig at Ford rival F-150 pick-up truck, Musk has been tweeting furiously to boost sales since Thursday’s launch.
“Better truck than an F-150, faster than a Porsche 911,” he tweeted over the weekend, posting a video of the Cybertruck dragging the F-150 uphill.
The billionaire has long been using his 30 million Twitter following as a platform to sell Tesla’s vehicles but landed in trouble last year when he tweeted he would be taking Tesla private before later withdrawing the statement.
As a result, he agreed with US regulators to submit his public statements about the company to vetting by its legal counsel. Tesla did not respond to Reuters news agency’s inquiries as to whether all of the weekend’s tweets had been vetted.
Not all orders translate into sales as many are likely eventually to be cancelled and money refunded to depositors.