Tesla: How not to build a brand

  • Tesla has rarely turned a profit in its nearly 15-year existence.
  • Senior executives are fleeing the company.
  • The company is in an ugly fight with the National Transportation Safety Board.
  • Tesla burns through cash at a rate of $7,430 a minute.
  • Musk has taken to attacking the media over Tesla’s problems.

Even though Tesla was considered a cool brand they forgot one thing: they have to deliver a good product.   It has failed to meet production targets for its $35,000 Model 3, for which more than 400,000 people have already put down $1,000 deposits, and on which the company’s fortunes largely rest while promising new products that most have doubts will ever be produced.  To make matters worse Consumer Reports gave the Tesla 3 a bad review saying “despite the record range and agile handling, issues with braking, controls, and ride quality hurt the Model 3’s Overall Score”.

The NY Times said

Tesla, by contrast, today is a terrible idea with a brilliant leader. The terrible idea is that electric cars are the wave of the future, at least for the mass market. Gasoline has advantages in energy density, cost, infrastructure and transportability that electricity doesn’t and won’t for decades. The brilliance is Musk’s Trump-like ability to get people to believe in him and his preposterous promises. Tesla without Musk would be Oz without the Wizard.

Ouch.

A good executive knows when he/she is over his head and asks for help.  In Mr Musk’s case he is the master of hubris and now has started to attack the press that is questioning whether Tesla can survive.  Some on Wall Street are even starting to wonder is Tesla could be a takeover target.

Gasoline has advantages in energy density, cost, infrastructure and transportability that electricity doesn’t and won’t for decades. In the meantime consumers who gave Tesla a $1000 deposit have to wonder if they will ever see their cars and right now they have to doubt that the cars will hold any of their value.   Another failed brand promise.

 

About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

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