The brand image of Tesla, the world’s top electric vehicle maker, whose favorability is declining in the wake of its CEO Elon Musk’s chaotic takeover of Twitter, is slowly tanking, according to a new survey.
According to survey data released by Morning Consult Brand Intelligence on Thursday, only 13.4% of US adults have a favorable view of Tesla at the moment. Compared with last month’s 16% and 28.4% in January 2022, which marks a 15% drop in a year.
Over the past year, Musk has engaged in a practice that CEOs of major companies typically avoid – he espoused partisan political views by explicitly encouraging people during the recent midterm elections to vote for Republicans rather than Democrats.
He also voiced strong support for GOP Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as a potential presidential candidate in 2024.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the decline in Tesla’s popularity has been driven by people who identify as Democrats with just 3% of them viewing Musk’s EV company favorably – down from 10.3% in December 2022.
On top of slashing thousands of employees and losing major advertisers, Musk relaxed Twitter guidelines aimed at preventing false information about Covid-19 and COVID vaccines and welcomed back controversial public figures, including former President Donald Trump and former national security advisor Michael Flynn, who was linked to the Jan. 6 assault on the US Capitol.
Musk’s political views prompted some would-be customers to cancel planned Tesla purchases and some Tesla owners to announce – using Twitter to add to the irony – they’re getting rid of their vehicles.
Although Musk’s behavior and opinions weren’t explicitly identified as the reason for the plunge in Tesla’s overall favorability in the Morning Consult survey, the report found that net favorability toward him dropped to 9 points in November 2022 from 16 points in November 2021 and 22 points in February 2021.
A former magazine editor and Tesla owner John Blumenthal wrote in a recent opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times that he wonders what sort of political statement the car is making and if the people will see him as a symbol of right-wing environmentalism – a living oxymoron- considering Musk’s stands.
Blumenthal has accused Musk of turning Twitter into an unsupervised playground for neo-Nazis and other random hate mongers and wackadoodle QAnon followers.
On a positive note, Tesla shares are regaining some ground in early 2023 after plunging nearly 70% last year, rising more than 14% so far this year though it changed a little in Nasdaq on Thursday, closing up less than 1% at $123.56.
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