Tesla’s Approval Rating Tanks…. And It’s Elon’s Fault

Remember the days when Tesla was the default choice for EV buyers? Those days seem to be over according to U.K.-based research firm YouGov. The firm conducts regular consumer perception studies which Tesla has always come out on the positive side of said studies. But as of November 7th, which isn’t long after Elon bought Twitter, that changed:

The electric-car maker started 2022 with a net-positive score of 5.9%, then peaked in May at 6.7%. In early November, it fell to a negative-1.4% reading.

YouGov found a political divide in the numbers. As the Wall Street Journal explains, “self-described liberals now view Tesla more negatively than conservatives, though conservatives also have a negative view of the brand on average.”

What changed to influence opinions so radically? Tesla CEO Elon Musk famously bought the social network Twitter at the end of October and has been a prominent figure in the news for reshaping its operations.

The company has also come under criminal investigation over a series of accidents that may have involved its driver assistance software, according to Reuters.

And this sentiment has confirmation from another research firm:

Morning Consult, a U.S.-based polling firm, also finds that negative perceptions of Tesla are increasing. The company surveys about 200 Americans daily to test their attitudes about several prominent brands. At the start of 2022, it said, 43% of Americans viewed Tesla positively, while 15% had a negative opinion of the company. As of Nov. 27, 38% saw the company positively, while 22% viewed it negatively.

Morning Consult’s numbers also reinforce the political divide. Among self-described Democrats, 24.8% saw Tesla positively in October. Just 10.4% said the same at the end of November. Self-described Republicans saw their opinion of the company rise, from a favorable 20% to 26.5%, over the same period.

“It seems like Tesla is on its way to becoming a partisan brand,” Morning Consult’s Jordan Marlatt told the Wall Street Journal.

None of that is good for business. And that’s likely part of the reason why Tesla’s stock has fallen by 50% this year. Which hits Elon’s bank account negatively. For this sentiment to turn around, Elon would have to do a complete 180 in terms of how he behaves. Something that I do not see happening given his recent behaviour.

At the end of the day, the only person to blame for Tesla’s brand perception issues is Elon Musk.

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