Alienating Tesla Buyers by the Cybertruck-load



@TBPInvictus here:

Back in December 2022, I hypothesized that Elon Musk’s antics and his newfound desire to own the Libs were going to destroy Tesla’s appeal to many of his most important buyers

The latest data confirms those sentiments were on point.

I looked at 2020 voting data and TSLA registrations in counties throughout the state of New York, and theorized as follows:

Watching Musk’s ongoing antics, it has become very clear to me that his actions are not only destroying Twitter, but the collateral damage is taking Tesla down with it – a veritable twofer of ineptitude and rake-stepping. […]

My thesis is that in Musk’s newfound desire to own the Libs, he’s alienating the very people who have overwhelmingly been buyers of his EVs.

Consider who the typical Tesla buyer has been over the decade before he began to own the Libs: You would describe them as people who do not think global warming is a hoax; they are early adopters, willing to pay more for an EV versus an ICE car. As good as Tesla’s supercharging network is, it’s nowhere near the infrastructure buildout of gasoline vehicles, it can still be inconvenient on 300+ mile trips; although to be fair, ICE infrastructure has had a century head start. These folks want to leave a better world to their kids; they are realists about the dangers presented by climate change, and they think individuals can make a difference via their personal choices. Oh, and they believe in science.

It is not that this group is exclusively Democrats, but draw a Venn diagram with the folks I described above and Dems, and the overlap is significant.

Now comes the Wall St. Journal with the headline: Elon Musk Lost Democrats on Tesla When He Needed Them Most

The proportion of Democrats buying Tesla vehicles fell by more than 60%, according to car buyers surveyed in October and November by researcher Strategic Vision. 

I’m not one who’s typically inclined to take a victory lap, but this one feels like it was so obvious to see coming by bringing together data from very disparate sources and nailed the eventual outcome.

If your politics puts you on the opposite side of the NYT/Paul Krugman, how do you reconcile that now Murdoch’s WSJ has come to accept this relaity as well…?


BR adds: What makes this so perplexing is what an unforced error this has been. Musk moved the entire auto industry towards electric, he had amassed enormous goodwill and had a built-in customer base that was very loyal. All he had to do was not screw it up, which — apparently — was a bridge too far.

At its peak, TSLA was worth $1.29 trillion; today, it is $448.9 billion:

That is a 65% decrease in market cap + price:


Tesla’s designs are getting old, and looking a little stale. Their huge decade-long software advantage is now probably somewhere in the 2 -4 year range.

Of course, there is much more competition today, as EV buyers have a myriad of choices: Rivian, Ford, BMW, Hyundai, Kia, VW, Audi, GM, Fiat, Mini, Porsche, Volvo, Nissan, Lotus, Renault, Polestar, Toyota, and even Maserati & Rolls Royce – most of these were not options just 3 years ago.

At least it will make for a fascinating HBS case study in the future…



Elon Musk Lost Democrats on Tesla When He Needed Them Most
Tim Higgins
WSJ, April 20, 2024

How to Destroy a Brand, Musk Style
Paul Krugman
NYT, Dec. 30, 2022


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