When Tesla starts Cybertruck deliveries on Thursday, though, it may have a devised a cheat that DeLorean couldn’t: color wraps. (REUTERS)News 

Cybertruck Makeover: Tesla Color Wraps to the Rescue!

Tesla Inc. has ingeniously crafted its stainless-steel Cybertuck to stand out as a truly unique creation – the inaugural vehicle accessible to the general public that eliminates the need for paint. This accomplishment is no small task, considering that the only other company to approach this concept, DeLorean, managed to sell a mere 9,000 cars before succumbing to bankruptcy in 1982.

However, when Tesla begins Cybertruck deliveries on Thursday, it may have a gimmick the DeLorean couldn’t: color wraps. A decorative film affixed to the vehicle’s exterior — and a lucrative upsell Tesla has been experimenting with in California — could soften the edges of a vehicle considered too harsh for mainstream buyers.

“It looks a lot more attractive with these wraps,” says Jessica Caldwell, director of insights at Edmunds, as she scrolls through photos of Cybertruck test vehicles with custom prints. There’s been a marked shift in the auto industry toward boxy, “masculine” car designs versus the bubble-shaped SUVs that have long dominated, Caldwell says. Tesla just went “perhaps a little too far.”

Seven colors to begin with

Wrapping vehicles in colorful coatings is nothing new. Wraps can make a Ferrari look like a chrome bullet or turn a sketchy utility vehicle into a bright billboard for lawn care services. Some think the Cybertruck looks like a refrigerator on wheels, while others see a blank canvas.

Most wraps require custom installations from third-party repair shops. For starters, Tesla recently began offering in-house wraps for the Model 3 and Model Y in October — a potential trial period before the first Cybertruck deliveries. The company has yet to say whether the Cybertruck will be offered with wraps, but when asked in 2020 if the truck would be available in color, Musk said, “You can wrap it in any color or pattern.”

There are two types of car wraps: shape-matching vinyl wraps and colored paint protection film (PPF). Vinyl wraps are less expensive—typically $3,000 to $5,000—and offer more customization options. PPF is almost twice as expensive, but offers better durability and protection.

The wraps Tesla started for the Model 3 and Model Y are the latter — a high-end film made to repel dirt and self-heal after minor scratches. (Damage from some automated car washes, for example, usually disappears within 48 hours, the company says.) Tesla charges $7,500 to $8,000 to wrap the Model 3 and Model Y in Satin Rose Gold options, which come in seven soft colors. to “Stealth Black”.

The company hasn’t mentioned the possibility of customization, but Cybertrucks have been spotted with at least 10 detailed patterns and logo designs that are usually only possible on vinyl. These include a pair of neon Cybertruck logos sprayed across the doors, graffiti-style; Cybertrucks are humorously made to look like the Ford F-150 and Toyota Tundra; and several unusual methods of camouflage.

The idea of in-house Cybertruck wraps—if you will—may have been part of Tesla’s plan from the start. When the Cybertruck was designed, Tesla had just gone through a painful Model 3 production ramp-up that Musk said nearly bankrupted the company. Many problems started at the paint shop.

Car paint is expensive and subtle. It clogs, coagulates, ripples and peels if the chemical mix is not perfect. It is also the largest source of pollution from car factories, accounting for more than half of carbon dioxide emissions and more than 95% of toxic volatile organic compound emissions. With the Cybertruck, Tesla has the opportunity to give up painting altogether.

In-house wraps can also be very profitable. The materials are not expensive, and most of the cost is tied to the laborious hours required to use them. The film must be stretched, smoothed, cut and precisely attached around each headlight, door handle, logo and decoration. The Cybertruck’s wide, flat panels look purpose-built, making it easy to work with.

The benefit of those $8,000 wraps, along with the $12,000 price tag of Tesla’s FSD driver assistance features, could help keep the Cybertruck’s base price lower for value-seeking buyers. Conquering multiple segments of the truck market is key if Tesla is to reach its goal of selling 250,000 trucks a year.

Screams for attention

Even if Tesla doesn’t offer wraps from the start, the opportunity isn’t lost on third-party wrap installers who have been preparing for the Cybertruck’s launch since 2019. Wrapmate, a Colorado-based vinyl wrap company, says it will be custom wrapped for the Cybertruck for $4,163. It includes design assistance, materials and installation from partner workshops throughout the United States.

“For businesses, I think this is a great idea,” says Caldwell of Edmunds. “Obviously, the Cybertruck is very noticeable on the road and draws attention when you wrap it with your company logo.”

If the past is any indication, Tesla will likely spend much of Thursday’s launch party performing stunts designed to convince customers of the Cybertruck’s toughness: clips of low-caliber bullets emptied into door panels, mud-flying displays of off-road prowess, the feat. traction equivalent to 1,000 horses.

But perhaps the biggest test, Caldwell says, is whether clients feel comfortable pushing the issue publicly. Musk’s divisive involvement in right-wing politics over the past year only adds to the problem of driving a vehicle that screams for attention, he says.

“People wanted to be a part of his movement, and that really helped Tesla sell vehicles,” Caldwell says. “Now they’re launching this vehicle when his popularity is very different. People are much less forgiving.”

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