Tesla executives shouldn’t sweat too much over the negative press. Most consumers aren’t listening.
The chasm between negative media coverage and the average Tesla buyer’s sentiment gets no wider than on YouTube. There Model 3 owners post overwhelmingly glowing reviews. And even when reviewers do complain, it seems a distant memory by the end of the video. In the end, they just want to be assured that Tesla stands behind the car and they’ll continue to get OTA updates.
Tesla’s negative headlines have increased “substantially” in the last month according to R.W. Baird. But here’s the thing: consumers — even if they’re paying attention — have already seen too many hyperbolic Tesla-is-toast headlines to take them very seriously anymore (à la Elon Musk’s tweet). Call it the Trump effect: the net effect is to raise the profile of the company and that generates more consumer interest and drives popularity of (read: obsession with) the vehicles.
Consumer Reports made headlines this past week when it said, “Tesla Model 3 Falls Short of a CR Recommendation” but, for the most part, the report simply rehashed longstanding issues that consumers — and Model 3 owners and reviewers on YouTube — are already familiar with.*
Though Consumer Reports did not recommend the Model 3, the Overall Score was high (and close to the highly-rated and recommended Chevy Bolt) so that’s as good as a recommendation for most prospective buyers.
Financial Media and Shorts
The financial media focuses on the negative because it’s part of their job description to alert readers to looming issues. And Tesla is exceptionally fertile ground for scary headlines because it is expanding so rapidly and burning through so much cash in the process. These headlines won’t stop of course. But most readers are smart enough to see past the fake negativity. “Hmm…tell me something that I don’t already know” is the feeling when trying to sift through the daily churn of negative Tesla stories to find the real news.
The worst of the worst fear mongers are the crowd-sourced, stock-centric blogs that speak to short sellers. These headlines are cranked out on an assembly line 24/7 and the content is mostly mind-numbingly repetitive boilerplate predictable to the point of irrelevancy: “Telsa is a house of cards because [fill in the blank].”
Meanwhile, the Model 3 is on its way to becoming the best-selling EV ever and hundreds of thousands more buyers are waiting to reserve a Model Y. Negative media only goes so far.