Prices at Elon Musk’s faltering EV startup are dropping yet again. Struggling to create demand in a market saturated with their CEO’s gaffes and foibles, Tesla does not signal strength with its sixth price decrease this year. The price cuts will lead to further margin erosion as the automaker prepares to report earnings this week.Via BoingBoing
Companies with charismatic, publicity-hungry heads have a very difficult future. I wager that most people have no idea who the heads of Honda or Target are. But as soon as you install (or allow takeover by) a demagogue desperate for attention, your company is headed for hard times.
When I bought my Tesla back in 2018, Elon Musk was known in certain geeky circles but certainly hadn’t yet become the asshole he is today. And he articulated a very attractive, necessary vision — the phase out of fossil fuels and removing carbon emissions from everyday life. Today? Whoa. Not even sure how to describe him.
One way would be a stunted, obnoxious child. When I got my car, it was a regular car with some advanced driving tech, but nothing that was unheard of in the auto industry. Today? The biggest additions have been a huge slate of video games and technology that allows the car to make fart noises when I engage the turn signal. Oh, and a horrible, dangerous “self driving” system that scares the shit out of me.
Anyway. Back to my point. Because of the antics of the company’s leader, my car has plummeted in value in every way. Not just in financial terms, but in social terms. Many people now are embarassed to drive a Tesla. Some people are getting rid of them now that alternatives are available. (Me? I can’t afford to do that. My car is paid for, and selling it would not bring in enough to buy another EV. Tesla already has my money, I’m not gonna take on debt to “own” Elon Musk.)
The company is now slashing prices on its vehicles. Sales have slowed. They spent the last few years promising nonsense they couldn’t deliver and letting the CEO run wild. Meanwhile, every other auto company has been using that time to work on their own EVs. Ones that have actual buttons and features you can use while driving without peering at a screen with tiny type. Ones that can sell cars without worrying about what the public thinks of their leadership or board members, because no one knows who the hell they are. If Tesla doesn’t grow up, like, right now, the grown ups will be putting it to bed.