Elon Musk gets all the attention, but the cars should

Andrew GreinerHead of Content for US
May 23, 2019, 7:00 PM GMT+0

Elon Musk creates a lot of press for Tesla, the electric car company he helms.

That news isn’t always great. Look at his recent spat with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Musk spent months fighting with the organization over his social media use. It cost him his position as chairman, and now, it cost him his Twitter freedom.

On April 26, Musk cut a new deal with the SEC to ensure that his tweets about the company would be approved by lawyers. At the same time, YouGov’s BrandIndex tracked a decline in Tesla’s Buzz score, a measure of whether you’ve heard something positive or negative about a company.

Further analysis shows that negative sentiment about Tesla is on the rise, while positive sentiment is flagging slightly.

So it goes for Musk and Tesla. He’s undeniably famous (the 92nd most famous public figure according to YouGov Rankings.) But his fame often comes at the expense of the companies he runs, which include Tesla and SpaceX, a privately held rocket company.

But Musk must be doing something right because a whole suite of other YouGov metrics about Tesla are looking good.

Scores for Quality, Consideration (which measures whether you think this is a brand you’d buy), and Satisfaction are holding steady. Others, like Purchase Intent and Reputation (which measures whether you’d be proud to work for a company) appear to be edging up.

In fact, YouGov’s Plan & Track data shows that about 6% of the public, and the same percentage of individuals in the market to buy a car, would consider purchasing a Tesla.

That number hasn’t changed since a previous spate of bad news hit the company between March and September of 2018 and similarly dragged down Tesla’s Buzz score.

That data suggests that Tesla vehicles are viewed favorably by the public, even if the company’s CEO isn’t always viewed that way.

The company should be more concerned about sentiment around its vehicles than around its leader.

Stories about Teslas catching fire or crashing while in so-called “auto-pilot” mode could have a much bigger impact on the company’s health than the tweets from its CEO. Some of those types of stories have been bubbling into news headlines recently, but don’t appear to have had a meaningful effect on metrics tracked by YouGov.

Related: Tesla begins to recover from Elon Musk controversies and deadly autopilot crash

Image: Getty

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