Would-be Tesla buyers snub company as Musk’s reputation dips

 Would-be Tesla buyers snub company as Musk’s reputation dips

Tesla’s popularity among potential buyers in the United States appears to be waning, according to a survey conducted by market intelligence firm Caliber. This decline has been attributed in part to the polarizing persona of CEO Elon Musk.

While Tesla experienced robust sales growth last year, aided by aggressive price reductions, the electric vehicle manufacturer is expected to report disappointing quarterly sales as early as Tuesday.

According to Caliber‘s data shared exclusively with Reuters, Tesla’s “consideration score” dropped to 31% in February, less than half of its peak at 70% in November 2021. In contrast, consideration scores for traditional automakers like Mercedes, BMW, and Audi have seen slight increases during the same period.

The decline in Tesla’s consideration score has been linked to strong associations between the company’s reputation and that of Musk. Caliber CEO Shahar Silbershatz noted that 83% of Americans surveyed connect Musk with Tesla, suggesting that Musk’s persona may be contributing to the reputational decline.

Experts in marketing, polling, and automotive industries interviewed by Reuters echoed similar sentiments, citing controversies surrounding Musk’s political affiliations and public statements as potential factors dampening demand for Tesla vehicles.

Economic concerns, lack of affordable new models, and heightened competition from cheaper rivals, such as China’s BYD, have also been cited as challenges for Tesla. Additionally, overall electric vehicle sales in the US are projected to increase by 15% in the first quarter of this year, with Tesla’s sales expected to grow by only 3%.

The diminishing interest in Tesla is reflected in recent market trends. New car registrations for Teslas in California, the company’s largest US market, saw their first decline in over three years in the fourth quarter of 2023, despite overall growth in electric vehicle sales.

Tesla’s stock performance has also been impacted, with shares down nearly 30% year-to-date. Analysts have lowered target prices for Tesla, anticipating disappointing first-quarter delivery results.

While Musk’s outsized personality has historically benefited Tesla, recent controversies have posed challenges. Musk’s political affiliations and controversial statements have led to a decline in Tesla’s reputation in several countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom.

However, despite these challenges, Tesla’s reputation remains strong among many consumers, with high levels of loyalty observed among existing Tesla owners. Nevertheless, a growing number of potential electric vehicle shoppers are exploring alternatives to Tesla due to concerns over Musk’s behavior and politics.

Also read: Google Agrees to Dispose of Billions of User Records, Implements Restrictions on Tracking

Web Desk

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