Dennis Levitt, 73, an American self-storage company executive, got his first Tesla, a blue Model S, in 2013 and loved it: “I’m a big Musk fan.” While Levitt still loves his Tesla, he became disgusted with Musk.
“As time went on, his public statements really bothered me,” Levitt said, citing Musk’s verbal sparring with President Joe Biden and others, “and he acted like a seven-year-old.”
Consumer survey after consumer survey and market research reports show that Tesla has high brand awareness, consideration and loyalty in the U.S., and customers are mostly satisfied with its cars. On the other hand, Musk’s series of antics? This, they argue, can be done without. This comes after a research firm, Escalent, found that Musk was the most negative aspect of the Tesla brand among electric car owners surveyed.
Of course, there’s no denying that Musk’s demonstrated star appeal on Twitter contributed greatly to Tesla’s initial publicity push, especially because it was an alternative to traditional advertising. His constant stream of online banter, with occasional grand announcements or stunts (see: shooting a sports car into space), occasionally made Tesla headlines. In the company’s early days, the slick commentary was a refreshing trait and a designed tone that, rather than being a mistake, allowed Musk to project a chic media image and made him the “ringleader” of Tesla’s online legion of fans.
But after making Tesla and himself deeply entwined and synonymous with each other, Musk has become embroiled in political conflict, trying to buy his biggest megaphone, Twitter, with much fanfare and fuss, and trying to push back against unflattering coverage of his personal life, putting the company’s increasingly valuable brand at considerable risk. high stakes for the company’s increasingly valuable brand.
For much of the past decade, Tesla has lacked competitors to match the battery range and other performance metrics of its models. As traditional automakers introduce more powerful electric models, Tesla will have less wiggle room.
According to Strategic Vision, a U.S. research firm that consults with automotive companies, about 39 percent of car buyers say they would not consider a Tesla. That’s not necessarily unusual – almost half of those surveyed said they wouldn’t consider the German luxury brand. But Tesla does lag behind more mass-market brands: for example, only 23 percent of drivers have no Toyota on their shopping list.