April 20, 2024

Elon Musk is somewhat of a divisive person. The world’s third-richest person has been an outspoken critic of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives (DEI), repeatedly stepped into legal trouble with U.S. federal regulators, and dabbled in election misinformation.

Although those issues have long been present in the backs of Tesla investors’ minds, Musk hasn’t always been so outspoken about his beliefs. But in recent years, especially after he purchased Twitter and rebranded it as X, Musk has increasingly moved his attention toward controversy and politics.

Now it’s hurting Tesla’s reputation and — more important to investors — its sales.

“Basically Tesla can’t sell its cars due to Elon’s behavior,” Tesla investor Ross Gerber wrote Tuesday on X. “Only one person [is] responsible for this,” he added, referring to Tesla’s abysmal first-quarter deliveries report.

Tesla on Tuesday disclosed it delivered just 386,810 electric vehicles over the first three months of 2024, well below Wall Street’s expectations, despite many analysts preemptively trimming their forecasts. While there are many factors affecting Tesla’s sales, Musk’s controversial behavior likely played a role in some consumers’ decision to look elsewhere for their next car.

Read more: Tesla’s ‘nightmare’ first quarter in 3 charts

Market intelligence firm Caliber’s “consideration” score for Tesla fell to 31% in February, less than half its high of 70% in November 2021, Reuters reports.

Caliber also found that Musk’s reputation is uniquely tied to Tesla, with 83% of Americans connecting the executive to the company. For comparison, just 26% of Americans surveyed by Caliber knew that Tim Cook is the CEO of Apple and 11% could connect Reed Hastings to the company he helped found, Netflix.

Out of a 1-100 scale, Musk scored a 47 on Caliber’s “trust & like” category, 50s for the authenticity, integrity, and governance categories, and 52 in the “society” category. His best scores were a 68 in the “offering” category, a 73 for innovation, and 62 in the leadership category.

“A modest but growing number of EV shoppers are increasingly put off by Elon Musk’s behavior and politics and are now finding viable alternatives to Tesla in the marketplace,” Ed Kim, president of California-based consultancy AutoPacific, told Reuters earlier this week.

Since Tesla reported deliveries early Tuesday morning, Musk has posted on X about his company three times, one of which was calling Gerber “such an idiot he can’t even tell he’s an idiot.”

During that time, Musk also posted or supported attacks against COVID-19 vaccinations, Georgia’s ballot counting in the 2020 presidential election, DEI, President Joe Biden, and legacy media institutions. He also threw his support behind billionaire Nelson Peltz’s failed bid for seats on The Walt Disney Company’s board.

Read more: Tesla’s big delivery miss is a sign of tougher competition, analyst says

In July, Bloomberg News released the latest edition of its survey of about 5,000 Tesla Model 3 owners. Although many of those consumers praised their electric compact cars, they had less gushy feelings regarding Musk.

The vast majority of respondent said Musk’s public statements harmed or greatly harmed Tesla’s reputation. When prompted, many owners told Bloomberg they wanted Musk to stop posting on X and stay out of politics. Of the consumers that sold of their Teslas and purchased a different brand, 21.5% cited their disapproval of Musk.

“If I don’t buy another Tesla it will be because Musk damaged the brand and made it embarrassing to be seen in his car,” one Model 3 owner told Bloomberg. Another told the publication that “I have spoken to several people who say that as much as they hear Tesla is a good car, they cannot bring themselves to buy on because of Musk.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *