Elon Musk’s ‘Erratic, Impulsive’ Behaviour Puts Buyers Off Tesla

Elon Musk’s ‘Erratic, Impulsive’ Behaviour Puts Buyers Off Tesla

Tesla is having a heck of a time right now. The rollout of its flagship Cybertruck has been fraught with issues, sales of its entire lineup are stagnating and investors are getting worried that big boss Elon Musk is distracted by his other ventures, such as SpaceX and his takeover of Twitter. However, that might not be the only way Musk is hitting Tesla’s balance sheet, as a new study found that many would-be buyers are being put off by his toxic behaviour.

Musk’s ties to Tesla and its reputation run much, much deeper than other automakers and their CEOs. For this reason, a new report from the New York Times looked into the impact his actions have had on would-be Tesla buyers in recent years, and it’s not looking good.

The Times quizzed more than 7,500 people about their attitudes to Musk and Tesla and many reported being put off by the “erratic, impulsive” actions of the big boss. As the site explains:

His image as an erratic, impulsive manager appears to have rubbed off on the cars, raising doubts in some people’s minds about their quality and helping to explain why Tesla sales have been falling. On Tuesday, the company reported that its global sales in the second quarter fell 4.8 percent from the same period a year earlier, after an 8.5 percent drop in the first three months of the year.

“Musk is a true lightning rod,” said Ben Rose, the president of Battle Road Research, which has a generally positive view on Tesla’s stock. “There are people who swear by him and people who swear at him. No question, some of his comments are a real turnoff for some people. For a subset, enough to buy another brand.”

Of the people polled by the Times, the “vast majority” of respondents were critical of Musk’s political views and his erratic behavior. Some even cited his handling of the takeover of Twitter where he fired thousands of employees as a reason they look down on Tesla.

What’s more, his increasingly close ties to convicted fellon Donal Trump have further pushed potential buyers away from the brand, as the Times adds:

“You’re basically driving around a giant red MAGA hat,” said Aaron Shepherd, a product designer at Microsoft in Seattle who said he was planning to buy an electric Volkswagen ID.4 instead of a Tesla.

Potential buyers have also taken offence to the spate of racism scandals that have swirled around Tesla in recent years. In February, the EV maker faced a lawsuit from more than 6,000 Black workers accusing the company of racism at its factories and a further case saw Tesla pay one Black worker more than $US3 million over discrimination claims. Stories like these should be enough to put anyone laying their cash down on a Tesla, adds Futurism. As the site explains:

Another reader, IT worker Achidi Ndifang, cited Musk’s seeming anti-Black racism as the main reason for his Tesla disdain.

“My mother was seriously debating buying a Tesla,” Ndifang, who lives and works in Baltimore, told the newspaper. “As a Black person, I felt like it would be an insult for my mother to drive a Tesla.”

Despite such scandals, Tesla is still one of the largest automakers in the world and there’s nobody who could argue against its dominance in the EV space in recent years. However, that lead is slowly being eaten away by other automakers entering the space. In fact, in its most recent sales figures Tesla posted yet another drop in deliveries.

Now, there’s no telling how much of this is as a result of negative press surrounding the company or merely more options for buyers. However, accusations of racism, allegiances to far-right politicians and a history of anti-union ideas that beat down regular working class Americans are all sure to put hesitant buyers from putting pen to paper and signing away their hard earned cash, right?

This is far from being the first time that researchers have looked into the impact Musk himself is having on Tesla’s sales. Earlier this year, a consumer research group found that the pool of Tesla buyers was shrinking due to Musk’s extreme views and warnings earlier this year suggested that the Tesla boss was losing focus on the automaker, hitting its ability to innovate.

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