Tesla CEO Elon Musk claimed during the recent Q4 2022 investor's earnings call while talking about Tesla's Full Self-Driving progress that only some "smart retail investors understand but I think a lot of others maybe don’t." Musk has been making such comments lately on Twitter, and while he may be right, there are some important details to point out here.
Elon Musk has been touting Tesla for years, as is to be expected, and as he should. C'mon, he's the company's CEO and largest investor, and the EV startup has endured an incredible amount of negativity and adversity over the years only to come out far ahead of its rivals. However, it's not hard to argue that his statements have become plain weird, especially if you take a step back and consider the circumstances and the bigger picture.
Lately, Musk continues to make comments about most people not understanding, not knowing, or not realizing what Tesla's up to and how amazing it is. People will make a comment on the social media site about something positive related to Tesla, and Musk will reply in agreeance, adding that it's crazy but people simply don't know it or see it. It's as if he's suggesting that perhaps the stock is down not because Tesla is on the wrong track, but because smart investors aren't understanding or paying enough attention.
Again, anyone could easily argue here that Musk is right or wrong. However, the weird part is that for years now, Musk, along with a host of Tesla fans, owners, and investors are really the only folks regularly sharing these incredible positives about Tesla. The automaker doesn't advertise. The masses aren't going to see a Super Bowl commercial showing how Tesla's cars avoid killing kids, though they may see a Super Bowl commercial showing the cars bowling over mannequins that look like kids.
Tesla also doesn't have a PR department in the US. So, if a prospective buyer, potential investor, or anyone in the media wants some clarification or details about some component of Tesla's technology and how it blows away rivals, there's really nowhere to get those answers. Moreover, Tesla withholds all sorts of details about its products from the public, including typical specs and expected information that you'll find commonly shared in detail by most other automakers about their products.
If Musk really thinks that the issue with Tesla is that people simply don't know or understand just what it's doing and how much better it is than rivals' technologies and progress, perhaps Tesla should work exceedingly harder to share it with the world. Perhaps not only share it, but go to lengths to prove it. Of course Musk, Tesla execs, Tesla owners, Tesla investors, and Tesla fans, in general, are likely to tout the technology, but much of the media is covering it in a different light. If those news stories are false and misleading, isn't it Tesla's and Musk's job to set the record straight rather than simply claiming that most people just don't get it?
Musk also recently bragged about his massive number of Twitter followers, and how the number is growing every day. This means he can reach out to nearly 130 million people with the click of his keyboard or phone. However, these are people who are choosing to follow Musk for one reason or another, and perhaps not the people he needs to be educating about Tesla's progress, plans, products, and successes.
Is it time for Tesla to start being much more transparent, start advertising in a more traditional sense, and/or restart a working PR department? Or, should Musk just keep suggesting that people don't know or understand what's going on at Tesla?
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