According to a survey conducted both among owners of Tesla vehicles and potential customers, Elon Musk, executive director of the American company, is becoming a burden on the brand’s image due to the continuous controversies that dot his life, which he does not hesitate to air through his account on the social network Twitter.
Disrespect for important political figures such as Bernie Sanders, ridicule towards the transgender community, numerous accusations of manipulating the stock market, grandiose plans that later suffer significant delays, his swings when buying Twitter, his increasingly marked anti-unionism, the accusations of despotism and personalism made by his employees… Musk’s public image is becoming more controversial every day.
According to the research firm Escalent, users consider that Musk’s behavior negatively affects their perception of Tesla. “Elon has made such a mess on that brand that I don’t think I’d even take [one of his cars] if it was given to me,” says Jerry James Stone, a 48-year-old Sacramento, California, resident who is considering buying an electric car.
“You have this guy who is the richest man in the world, who has this huge loudspeaker, and he uses it to call someone who isn’t a pedophile, or to shame people, all of those things are kind of gross.” This effect is not only seen among new buyers, but also among those Tesla fans who once defended Musk.
Tesla’s public image is closely tied to Elon Musk
This is the case for Dennis Levitt, a 73-year-old client who has come to own four Teslas in recent years. “I was a total fan of Musk. Over time, his public statements have bothered me. He acts like a seven-year-old. If you took Mr. Musk out of the equation, I’m almost 98% sure my next car would be a Tesla. ” At the moment, though, you’ll most likely be buying an Audi, a Mercedes-Benz, or a BMW.
Although Musk’s media projection has been key to Tesla’s international expansion (the Californian firm does not carry out advertising campaigns to publicize its products), this strategy is a double-edged sword: Currently, the name of the businessman is closely linked to that of the company … so all its controversies directly affect the brand.