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Is Elon Musk hurting Tesla?

  • 14-12-2022 3:26pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 10,356 ✭✭✭✭


    DISCLAIMER: This is not a discussion of Elon Musk's political views or opinions, but rather their effect on Tesla. I'm happy to debate politics over on the politics forum, but this is a discussion about Tesla and how their future is (or isn't) tied to Elon's


    So there's been a lot of articles recently that Elon's purchase of Twitter is hurting Tesla's brand and share price, either directly from his large share sales during the year, or indirectly through announcing support for groups like the Republican party

    Without delving into Elon's political views, what are people's opinions of these articles. Is Tesla going to suffer because of Elon's innovative approach to public relations and company leadership?

    In my opinion, yes and no. I don't think Tesla's sales are going to be hurt be Elon's rantings on Twitter. There's a portion of the population who bought a Tesla because they want to save the planet and believed Elon was the man to do it. Most of them probably own a Tesla already and are unlikely to switch to another brand over what Elon's been saying on Twitter

    I think it has perhaps put a few prospective buyers off but there's enough people out there with the cash to buy one that it won't have any real impact.

    There's talk in the US about higher inventory of new Teslas than ever, but I would imagine this is probably down to a bunch of people who had deposits down but the cost of living has made a new Tesla unaffordable

    The other side of the coin is Tesla's share price. It's been said that Tesla is a software company that makes cars, I would argue that in recent years Tesla has been an investment fund that happens to make software and cars


    Here the Elon effect is more obvious, between his sales of his own Tesla shares and controversial leadership of Twitter the share price has gone down and a lot of investors have been spooked


    I don't think it's entirely Elon's fault, there was a general downturn in tech companies, but Tesla got hit worse than others.

    There's also been a general acknowledgement that self driving cars aren't around the corner which seemed to be what a lot of Tesla's share price was based on. Combined with rising interest rates which make those long term research projects look a lot more risky, it's probably contributed to Tesla's share price drop


    But there has still be a big drop in value likely attributed to Elon

    Some of Tesla's biggest investors are now complaining about the board of directors being asleep at the wheel and saying Elon is not focused on his duties as CEO. The fact that his biggest followers are saying that is significant by itself

    To be clear, I don't think Tesla's future success is wholly dependant on Elon being CEO, but there are decisions around future investment and spending that only the CEO can do. And if he's not paying attention then the company risks stagnation


    The third factor is that Tesla needs to attract good talent to maintain it's technological lead over other companies. Given how Elon has changed Twitter from what was generally regarded as a good work environment to a cesspit of "hardcore" developers pulling long hours, it'll put a lot of people off. Especially when there's other companies out there offering remote working and a more stable environment

    So what does the future hold for Tesla?

    In my totally uninformed opinion, I think if things continue as they are we may eventually see Elon forced to step down as CEO and probably take a director or CTO role or something like that. He'll probably sell this as wanting to focus on Twitter anyway

    I think Tesla's days of being the exception to the rule of car companies are coming to an end somewhat and whoever the next leader is will be responsible for untangling the company's image from Elon's image.

    They'll probably have to do normal car company things like have a PR department and do advertising campaigns and stuff. In general I'm hoping that Tesla does what it does best which is to make fantastic EVs

    Anyway, those are my views, what are yours?

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost



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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,224 ✭✭✭Kramer


    I think Tesla's days of being the exception to the rule of car companies are coming to an end somewhat and whoever the next leader is will be responsible for untangling the company's image from Elon's image.

    Perhaps they should rebrand?

    MM - Musk Motors! ©



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,224 ✭✭✭Kramer


    I think removing/distancing him from Tesla will be damaging. Keeping him is also damaging.

    He's intrinsically linked to the cars & brand so either option is poor. He's quite happy to see hundreds of billions of his wealth (& investors' money) lost so wouldn't be averse to tearing the whole thing apart, should things go against him.

    I dunno...........it's a conundrum.



  • Registered Users Posts: 20,949 ✭✭✭✭ELM327


    I think for the first time both Musk and Zuckerberg both are at risk of being ousted.

    All it would take for either to be outed is a shareholder coalition with enough control to pass a motion.

    I'm a musk fan (and agree with a lot of his political leanings). I have autism, as does he. But, there's no denying that his continued presence is damaging to the company. It's not an issue now in a supply constrained market. It's also fair to say that Tesla wouldnt exist without him. He is the Steve Jobs of Tesla, the Edison of the 21st century, with all the positive and negative that that brings. A stable hand for a few years to allow Tesla to expand without him would not hurt. And that's the first time I've said that, ever.

    The company is set up for success. It's profitable. It can't make enough vehicles to supply the demand. There are millions (literal) of waiting customers with deposits down for cars. Be that S/X across Europe that are very high margin, or the global cybertruck, or even preorders of the semi or roadster.

    Musk needs Tesla a lot more than Tesla needs musk at this point. If I were someone like Carl Icahn at this point I would consider targeting Tesla.



  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 18,431 Mod ✭✭✭✭slave1


    Tesla is Musk, Musk is Tesla, this was not a problem even with SpaceX (ignoring his other companies) but is now he owns Twitter, it's simply too much for one person to actively lead three companies of this magnitude.

    Tesla/Twitter need a succession plan, the man is burning way too bright and this is not sustainable, he will always stay with SpaceX because that's where his heart lies, building space rockets



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  • Registered Users Posts: 808 ✭✭✭podge1979


    Short answer is yes.

    The man is a genius to get the company where it is and took full advantage of being first movers. Look at nissan they were a first mover also but never really build on the leaf.

    Economic, geo-political factors even the pandemic helped (on-line sales big winner there).

    But telsa is now maturing and needs stability and credibility musk is not giving that now playing with the yo-yoing share price. The bunch has caught up and is passing them out.

    When I look at Elons antis now its clear the billionaire nutjob in the Netflix movie "don't look up is based" on him.

    Post edited by podge1979 on


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 7,650 Mod ✭✭✭✭liamog


    I do wonder how much of Elon's politics is a calculated measure to achieve Tesla's stated goal of "to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy" the people he's annoying today are already likely to move to sustainable transport options either from other brands or other forms of transport. These days he's appealing to flag-waving right wing market which would never have bought an environmentally considerate car from a lefty environmentalist.



  • Registered Users Posts: 10,356 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin


    It's a possibility but if there's any truth to the idea that wealthier people have more conservative views then there's a pretty narrow band of customers who believe he's trying to save the planet and can afford a new Tesla

    Most of that band probably bought a Tesla years ago so the customers now are people who are likely buying Teslas because they're a luxury car and fun to drive

    So I don't think appealing to the right wing element is really part of the mission, particularly when a lot of conservative politicians in the US are often spewing climate denial messages

    Honestly, I think the guy has just started believing his own hype too much. One major complaint I've heard about him recently is that he won't engage in any reasoned debate with anyone and will only speak to sycophants and yes men who don't question any of his opinions

    Not sure the level of truth to that but it's definitely not a good sign

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,439 ✭✭✭MojoMaker


    Reminiscent of Steve Jobs in many ways, and possibly on the same trajectory Jobs was vis a via Apple stint #1. Positive friction and contrarian opinions are useful when you're building something up, but when you get to a certain point they just become annoying and oxygen-depleting. I wonder would he have been in as much of a hurry to acquire Twitter if the plan was to keep it a public company? Can't have a pesky board or pesky shareholders to be reporting to.



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  • Posts: 21,179 ✭✭✭✭[Deleted User]


    I believe Musk has stated that his ultimate goal was to encourage other manufacturers to start making electric cars and if I remember correct he also stated that he didn't care if tesla went bust or something like that once the EV revolution kicked off ?

    I believe trying to make Twitter a free speech platform is a great thing because you can't allow a situation where big tech, supported by the US Democrats, their views, ideologies, agendas and those of liberals world wide get promoted and those who oppose get shut down and cancelled, this is dangerous.



  • Registered Users Posts: 9,412 ✭✭✭Furze99


    Consumers especially consumers of high ticket goods don't like instability, so I'd think yes his exposure on Twitter will damage his other businesses. However you also observe that

    "There's a portion of the population who bought a Tesla because they want to save the planet and believed Elon was the man to do it. Most of them probably own a Tesla already and are unlikely to switch to another brand over what Elon's been saying on Twitter"

    I doubt if anyone is buying a Tesla to 'save the planet'!! They're buying them as trophy cars to show off to their relations, neighbours and mates.



  • Registered Users Posts: 10,356 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin


    Well whether you agree with Musk's intentions for Twitter or not it still seems like he's hurting Tesla in the process

    Elon's said a lot of things in the past around his willingness to bankrupt Tesla for his goal, but when it comes to action he seems pretty focused on making the business profitable in the long run

    I mean, he could have open sourced all of Tesla's IP to give other manufacturers a leg up, but he didn't

    I think Elon's view of success for the future is a sort of hyper individualistic libertarian world where people's success isn't bound by regulation, oversight or even the bounds of earth's atmosphere


    I imagine Atlas shrugged is probably on his most read list 😁

    This kind of image doesn't fit in with the "everybody hold hands and save the world" image that Tesla seem to want to project

    Like I said, I don't think it'll hurt sales, but investors prefer share prices to go steadily up rather than look like the world's wildest rollercoaster, so future access to cash is at risk.

    As is their ability to attract talent among the generally more liberal younger generation of developers and engineers. Tesla has a pretty high burnout rate among employees and if they can't plug gaps or expand then they'll stagnate

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost



  • Registered Users Posts: 10,356 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin


    Fair point, perhaps I should say they believe they're saving the planet. I mean for folks buying a Model 3, the alternative choice was probably something like a BMW 3 series which is definitely worse for the environment


    But I agree that a lot of current Tesla buyers are buying for the car and the fuel savings with the fact that it's an EV being a happy afterthought

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost



  • Posts: 21,179 ✭✭✭✭[Deleted User]


    "This kind of image doesn't fit in with the "everybody hold hands and save the world" image that Tesla seem to want to project"

    Tesla want to make money, it's investers want to make money, they couldn't give a sh1t about saving the earth.

    <Mod Note: Snip, keep comments on this thread limited to the impact on Tesla, if you want a general political discussion or on free speech platforms do it on the politics or current affairs forum>



  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 7,650 Mod ✭✭✭✭liamog


    Mod Note: I'm giving a fair bit of rope on this thread, but don't stray too far into the weeds on what Musk's intentions are with twitter, or the general politics of culture wars and free speech. It's a valuable discussion which is also happening in other more suitable sub-forums such as CA & Politics.



  • Registered Users Posts: 10,356 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin


    Sorry I probably created a lot of work for you with this thread 😁

    It's an interesting situation because unlike almost every other company, Elon is very much the face of Tesla and to some extent the EV industry as a whole.

    Quite possibly more than every other CEO since Henry Ford he's shaped the future of the car industry

    I think we're past the point now where if Elon goes down in flames then the march towards electrification will stop, but it's interesting to gauge how much he is still tied into Tesla and the EV industry as a whole

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost



  • Registered Users Posts: 10,356 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin


    Absolutely true, although you have to hand it to Musk. He managed to turn EVs from impractical vehicles that car manufacturers would occasionally wheel out almost to prove they weren't practical into something cool and desirable that everyone wants


    Can't knock that for marketing 😁

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost



  • Registered Users Posts: 15,297 ✭✭✭✭AMKC
    Ms


    I don’t do Twitter that good, I do FB, I don’t do any of the other socials so I’ve no idea what the man says from one day to another.


    You don't need to be on Twitter to see what people say. Just type in Elon Musk Twitter on Google and you can get an idea of what Elon or anyone else on Twitter has been up too.

    Live long and Prosper

    Peace and long life.



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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 37,724 Mod ✭✭✭✭Gumbo


    That's the point. I couldn't be bothered what the fella says.

    Leo is still head of our country yet if I google him now, all I see is him wear the face off some young fella in coppers!



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,952 ✭✭✭rocky




  • Registered Users Posts: 10,356 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin


    May I ask if you would have bought a Tesla but decided to get a Mach E based purely on Elon's actions?

    If you would have then Tesla have lost at least one sale to Elon

    The issue arises with how you define Tesla, is it a car manufacturer, a software company or an investment fund?

    IMO it's a little bit of all 3, and each has been differently affected by Elon's antics. As I said, I don't think sales are going to be affected in any significant way. They may have lost you as a customer but there's plenty of demand to fill the order book

    As a software company and an investment fund, I think Elon is having a negative effect. A year ago if Elon said something is brilliant everyone would buy it. Now people seem to be a bit slower to believe everything that comes out of his mouth

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost



  • Registered Users Posts: 10,356 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin


    Still not really answering the question of whether Tesla as a company is being hurt by Elon's antics

    I mean let's say Tesla goes down in flames tomorrow, what happens then?

    Regardless of the environmental impact, there's a desire and a need for cars. Even the most ambitious plans for public transportation and cycling won't provide a realistic alternative to most of the population in the near term

    So based on the current market, what would happen without Tesla? I don't think EVs will disappear but the march to electrification will be slowed down I think since traditional automakers aren't under as much pressure to change

    That'll mean more ICE cars in the short term. And not used ones but new ones with a long lifetime of pollution ahead of them

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,535 ✭✭✭eire4


    Up until this past year I was of the mind that when I bought my first electric car it was more then likely going to be a Tesla yes. But my decision to not buy a Tesla was based completely on Musk's behaviour and actions. My decision to in the end go with a Ford Mustang Mach E was based on my looking around once I knew Telsa was out and I really liked the Mach E and am very happy with it now that I actually have it. So again I am just one person but Telsa did lose a sale to me as a direct result of Musk's behaviour and actions. The man is as I said earlier odious.



  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 66,471 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011


    It's massively damaging the brand - to people who are aware of who he is. I've seen the term "MAGA hat on wheels" being used; which is unfair considering the majority of those who have one did not buy one after he became so visibly mad; let alone bought it for that reason!

    To those who don't know who he is, it cannot have an affect. But he's getting more and more known, and always in negative ways.



  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 37,724 Mod ✭✭✭✭Gumbo




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  • Registered Users Posts: 645 ✭✭✭Killer K




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