Elon Musk's X Antics May Be Pushing Away New Tesla Customers

Elon Musk's personality can best be described as mercurial (such as that time he talked about taking Twitter private for $420 a share), but it seems his willingness to jump into heated debates – ranging from immigration and war to overpopulation worries and conservative politics – are turning away potential Tesla customers. Market intelligence firm Caliber told Reuters that the "consideration score" for Tesla dipped to 31% in February, a fall of 8% compared to the January statistics and down from the 70% rating it commanded towards the end of 2021.

"It's very likely that Musk himself is contributing to the reputational downfall," Caliber CEO Shahar Silbershatz was quoted as saying. Moreover, market and sales experts that spoke to Reuters also remarked that Musk's controversial arguments are not only putting a dent on Tesla's brand value, but also dimming the demand. For the first time in three years, registrations for new cars in California went down. Brand Finance, a brand valuation consultancy, also reported a slide in Tesla's reputation in the U.S., Australia, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom for the year 2023.

Civic Sense, a consumer analytics firm, discovered in a survey that a healthy 42% of participants held an unfavorable view of Musk in 2022. "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," president of California-based consultancy AutoPacific, Ed Kim, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

A recurring reality

This won't be the first time that Musk's controversial persona was said to have a detrimental impact on Tesla's electric car sales. In 2021, the Heatmap Climate Poll conducted a survey and reported that 36% of Americans aiming to jump on the EV bandwagon reckon Musk's escapades are souring the Tesla dream for them. A study published by Creative Strategies in 2022 found that Tesla owners loved their cars, "but were starting to get frustrated with Elon Musk as a brand ambassador" due to his antics.

"Elon Musk is among the top drawbacks in their consideration of the brand," said another customer analysis by research firm Escalent. A Bloomberg report that collected testimonies from Tesla owners also arrived at a similar conclusion. In fact, it's not just prospective customers and investors that are apparently unhappy with Musk's actions, but also existing owners who are not a fan of his conduct. Another Bloomberg survey conducted nearly half a decade after the Model 3 went on sale also pointed out that disapproval of Musk's opinions is a key reason they were considering selling their Tesla cars.

But more than just his persona, it seems some of his business policies are also going to irk buyers in the future. According to CNBC, Musk has ordered employees to give a Full Self-Driving (FSD) demo to all customers prior to delivery. "I know this will slow down the delivery process, but it is nonetheless a hard requirement," Musk was quoted as saying.