The real reason Tesla is tanking: Musk's political self-sabotage

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Back To The Future GIF


I own a 2018 Tesla and Musk’s open embrace of alt-rightness is certainly a factor in me never buying another Tesla, but their decrease in car quality/features and their service department falling apart really puts the nail in the coffin.


I’m in the market for an EV but, just as the author states, Tesla is not on my list. There are plenty of alternatives out there in every price range, and there is no way I’m contributing to the Musk idiocy. Like a lot of tech bros, he apparently started to believe his own PR about being a genius entrepreneur who could do no wrong, and his mouth ran away with him. How stupid is it to alienate the very libs who are your best potential customers?


from swashbuckling entrepreneur to assholio dickwad.

“My name is Assholio Dickwad, swashbuckling entrepreneur. You killed my father; prepare to face legal consequences!”


This isn’t the whole story, though. Yes, antagonizing the people most likely to buy his cars in favour of stroking the egos of the people least likely to buy his cars has absolutely hurt sales, and that’s going to be a big contributing factor in what I suspect will be the eventual collapse of Tesla. People will still buy cars from assholes, though. They always have (Henry Ford says hello).

But he’s also hurt Tesla by squandering its early lead. Among other things, Tesla needed him to improve their position by refreshing their lineup, introducing new models that people actually wanted to buy and improving quality and service. He’s done exactly none of that.

Instead, he introduced the Semi and the Cybertruck. The former doesn’t look all that successful at this point and the latter is absolutely a bust. The Cybertruck is poorly designed (a carwash can brick it!), doesn’t even work well as a pickup truck, is full of quality issues and isn’t even selling well (less than 4000 recalled for the stupid pedal issue, which is terrible).

I’d add that Tesla’s dealerless service model–which at one point would have been a reason I’d consider buying one–makes car dealers look good. Which is not a thing I’d have ever thought I’d say.


Gonna become like that pillow guy soon. Lara Trump hawking Teslas in awkward speeches.


Not to mention the non-existent 2nd generation roadster that he’s been teasing for well over a decade. In 2011 he said there would be a new roadster in production in 2014 (which, at the time he referred to as the Tesla Model R) and then the company was showing off a prototype at the Tesla Semi event in 2017, saying at that time that it would be available starting in 2020. They’ve been accepting pre-orders since 2017 with a $50k required deposit. But not a lot of news since then.

Not that I think the world needs more stupidly-fast cars right now. But adding a convertible to their lineup would provide a bit more variety, at least.


I’ve worked in the energy industry for a long time and I never believed any of the 4D-chess genius who will save the world bullshit – it was very clear right from the start, at least to me, that the only thing he really wanted to do was make money and get attention – but there was a time that it was hard to argue with the Musk fanboys that the survival of Tesla depended on the attention he personally brought the company.

Now it seems obvious that he’s become a liability for the company, and he also seems to be paying a lot less attention to it now that Twitter is the shiny thing. I think both Tesla and its shareholders will be better off the sooner they can cut him loose – if they can. Given the number of share Musk himself owns, plus the (admittedly unknowable) number of shares held by his remaining sycophants, I’m not convinced that Tesla will be nothing more than an interesting historical footnote 50 years from now.


I recall a bumper sticker on a Tesla a few months ago that (approximately) said “Love the car, hate the chief twit”


Last I heard, and it was a while ago, 70% of Democrats said his politics had removed Tesla as an option for them. It can only have gotten worse since.

I’d argue that’s not really the issue, though. He’s not selling “cars” - he’s selling electric cars. And he’s not just alienating people by being an “asshole” - he’s being a fascist asshole. The market, when he started, was people concerned about climate change and other environmental issues, i.e. not right-wingers. When Elno specifically started alienating the left (i.e. his market), no one on the right suddenly decided they liked electric cars. In fact, the whole electric car issue has only become more politicized since, with Republicans becoming openly hostile to the very idea of electric cars in general (because anything the left likes must be opposed, even if they don’t actually have their own reason for it). It’s almost as bad as if one of the companies that make “rolling coal” kits started supporting BLM and antifa - the only customers they’d have left would be the ones unaware of the position they had taken… which pretty much seems like where Tesla is currently.

Granted, the dynamics are different in markets outside the US, but it really doesn’t sound like Tesla has enough of a market outside the US… they sell a fairly small number of units in Europe, and the Chinese market is large, but other companies have taken full control of the affordable car market there, and if Elno pisses off China with one of his other businesses (which, given what they are, is likely), he’s completely done there.

Seems like a bit of an understatement, given that it doesn’t even exist as a commercial product? Far as I can tell, a bunch of companies put down deposits back in 2017, but only PepsiCo got any back in 2022 - and they ordered 100 but still have only received 36. Best case scenario, Tesla have sold barely dozens* of the things. They claim they’re going to start making them in earnest, for realsies, next year, but in typical Elno style, they’ve been promising that for years. But it hardly seems to matter, as many of the companies seem to have given up waiting and just bought competing electric semis that came to the market first. Selling 4000 cybertrucks feels like a huge success in comparison, and it is, as you say, an absolute bust.

*(Also applies to the number of conservative Tesla buyers:)


I am the Great Cornholio!!


Why would anybody want to drive that death drap?? My neighbor was trying to sell his Tesla for couple months already, says nobody wants it…


I’d say because the brand new vehicles are already being discounted heavily so buying used seems to have little incentive. On top of more people just not wanting Teslas for various reasons.


This is interesting, and should be worrisome to Tesla owners. Musk wants to use everyone’s privately-owned vehicle to do cloud computing for him:


That’s just Musk spinning up ridiculous hype, in the hopes of keeping everyone from paying attention to the crashing profits.


Musk is doing the world a public service by convincing rabid Republicans to buy Teslas to “own the libs” instead of rolling coal.


there are a lot of reasons for the drop in profits, and Musk is definately one if not the top one. Increasing competition, market saturation for teslas in particular among electric cars, higher prices than competitor vehicles, lack of new vehicles for several years… but note the company still made 1 BILLION dollars profit. Only in a broken capitalism system is making 1 BILLION dollars profit in a year seen as a failing.


it’s not just that he’s an asshole…

while no car company is exactly ethical, given the choice… i’d avoid any company which allows racist and sexist abuse to go completely unchecked.


“Why do they call it a Tesla charger?”
“No one knows. Maybe for that inventor guy.”