New Model News

Tesla Cybertruck controversially breaks the conventional truck mold

Last night, Tesla unveiled its long-awaited truck to the world.

Photo courtesy of Tesla Motors

Remember the time when Ford's aluminum bed and GMC's Multi-Pro tailgate were the most outside-the-box thing in the truck world? That was yesterday. Then, Tesla revealed its long-awaited electric pickup truck, the Tesla Cybertruck, to a collective gasp.

The gasp wasn't just from truck traditionalists, it was from auto enthusiasts and tech giants, stock brokers and EV startup companies. Many people expected many different things from the Tesla truck, but what they saw on stage next to Tesla CEO Elon Musk wasn't what most envisioned.

Off the bat, there are two words that come to mind looking at the truck - risk and chance. While Car Twitter bemoans the similarities between much of the vehicles in the crossover market day in and day out, the team at Tesla was taking inspiration from the film "Blade Runner" and designing something futuristic and unconventional.

Prior to the reveal, Musk teased the truck's design inspiration.

He tweeted that the truck could possibly be used on Mars (without revealing the logistics of any type of operation that would get it there).

There's been no word yet on who at Mars Tesla should write a check to in order to receive "Official Truck of Mars" status.

The truck has the traditional truck components. There's a cab and bed, wheels, power source, and a drivetrain. Sure, it's not a muscular beast like the Ford F-150 or even the Rivian R1T, but that doesn't make it less of a truck, does it?

Consider the stats. The Cybertruck has the ability to tow more than 14,000 pounds and can handle a payload of up to 3,500 pounds. Those numbers are head and shoulders above what the Honda Ridgeline, Toyota Tacoma, and Nissan Titan offer.

The bed has 100 cubic feet of cargo space. That's about twice what the 2018 Chevrolet Silverado short box delivered. None of the pickups currently on the market, with the exception of the Ridgeline, offer an under bed or frunk lockable storage area. Tesla is offering a frunk in the Cybertruck.

The body of the Tesla truck is made of steel, just like the body of most other trucks.

The design was risky and Tesla, a publicly traded company, took a chance. Love it or hate it, the Cybertruck is here. Well, at least one of them is.

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New luxury EV

Lexus announces all-electric RZ 450e

Lexus just announced the new RZ 450e

Lexus

Lexus and Toyota have finally jumped onto the EV train, and we’ll soon see new all-electric SUVs from both. The Lexus variant, named RZ 450e, features a reasonable range, upscale interior, and neat all-wheel drive technology. We don’t have firm pricing for the Lexus, but expect it to start in the mid-to-high $40,000 range.

2023 Lexus RZRange is expected to reach 225 miles per chage. Lexus

The RZ shares a platform and much of its underlying engineering with the Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra, but will take a more upscale approach. Though its size and overall shape are similar to the others, the Lexus’ exterior styling is sharper and sportier, with functional aerodynamic bodywork. A new Lexus logo is spelled out on the rear gate, instead of the traditional “L” of previous models.

The SUV comes with a 71.4-kWh battery that should deliver a range of around 225 miles on a charge. All-wheel drive is standard, and uses the RZ’s dual electric motors to shift power between the wheels that need it most.

Inside, the RZ features a minimalist, open space with controls meant to remind drivers of a horse’s reins. Ultrasuede upholstery and woodgrain trim come standard. Lexus notes the RZ’s head-up display is controllable via steering wheel-mounted buttons that handle navigation, audio, and other functions.

2023 Lexus RZThough similar to the Toyota bZ4X inside, the Lexus IS more upscale and minimalist. Lexus

Speaking of the steering wheel, the first RZs will be available with a round wheel only, but later on, Lexus will offer a yoke-style wheel like the one seen in the Toyota bZ4X concept and Tesla’s Plaid models.

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The majority of new car buyers paid a markup in January 2022.

VW

It's no secret that new car prices are climbing every year, as new technology and features make their way into even the most basic models. The issue is compounded by massive supply chain issues that have caused vehicle shortages for nearly every major automaker. Some dealers are taking advantage of record low inventory levels by marking up prices, and unfortunately, the problem isn't limited to a handful of bad apples. In analyzing recent sale price data, automotive publication Edmunds found that buyers paid a markup in a whopping 82.2 percent of all new vehicle purchases in January 2022, compared to just 2.8 percent a year before. Overall, the average transaction price rose to $728 above MSRP for new car purchases.


Tesla factoryTesla is looking to expand production in the U.S. beyond the confines of its Fremont factory. Photo courtesy of Tesla Motors

Cadillac buyers saw the largest markups, to the tune of $4,048 on average in January. Land Rover and Kia weren't much better, with average markups of $2,565 and $2,289, respectively. On the other end of the spectrum, Alfa Romeo buyers got discounts that averaged $3,421, while people who bought Volvo or Lincoln vehicles got smaller discounts of $869 and $510, respectively.

Some automakers have taken a stand against dealer markups and the general lack of transparency seen in pricing across the board. Ford and General Motors have been vocal in recent months, threatening to withhold inventory from dealers found to be slapping markups on new vehicles. As Edmunds notes, both automakers have important vehicle launches on the horizon that neither can afford to flub, and inconsistent pricing or markups is a good way to alienate new customers out of the gate.


Cadillac EscaladeCadillac buyers paid the largest markups of any brand. Photo courtesy of Cadillac

If you're thinking of shopping for a new car, the best way to avoid paying a markup is to wait. The pandemic and ongoing supply chain issues have thrown kinks into every automaker's operations that will take time to iron out. That said, it's clear that some brands are committed to having no funny business when it comes to dealerships' pricing and communication. It's possible to get a vehicle at MSRP, or even below in some cases, so if you're in a position that requires you to buy a new car, shop around to get the best deal.

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