Tesla’s public perception has collapsed in the last eight months.
The electric vehicle company, seemingly the stock market and tech darling of America as recently as April 2022, has endured a barrage of negative headlines and falling sentiment.
Its approval rating in daily polls crashed dramatically from May to November 2022. Tesla's brand loyalty also seems to be evaporating into thin air.
Money expert Clark Howard is a Tesla owner and often speaks fondly of the company on his podcast. Although he’s also quick to acknowledge any shortcomings.
Is Tesla going to continue to fall from grace and eventually fade away? Or does it still have merit and substance as a company?
That's what a listener of the Clark Howard Podcast recently asked.
Does Tesla’s Reputation Hit Hint Toward Bigger Issues?
Is Tesla still a viable option for a vehicle or should I avoid buying one?
That's what a listener wanted to know on the Jan. 10 podcast episode.
Janet in California asked: "I'm on the verge of buying a Tesla next week. Will the technology be outdated shortly/within 15 years? Why do I hear negative reviews? Am I just paying a lot of money for a fad?"
- Tesla CEO Elon Musk is perceived to be focusing on Twitter after his recent acquisition.
- Tesla's stock price, which grew from $12.34 to $407.36 in less than 30 months, had fallen to $113.06 by Jan. 6, 2023.
- The company's self-driving cars have spawned investigations following accidents.
- The company has faced recall and supply issues, including with its tires and batteries.
- Other (sometimes cheaper) EV companies are stealing market share.
- Tesla prices may seem more exorbitant with the ongoing inflation issues and the potential for a recession.
Why Clark Would Say No To Tesla (And Other EVs) Right Now
Clark, a very early Tesla adopter, “loves” the vehicles. He’s driven a Tesla for 10 years.
But he would not buy a Tesla right now. He goes as far as to say that the price point and quality of customer service “cannot be justified right now.”
“You’re having to pay in many cases tens of thousands of dollars [more] than it used to be even as their costs have gone down,” Clark says. “Tesla has a huge [profit] margin on their vehicles.
“Terrible customer service. So many complaints. And Elon Musk is a mess right now. I’m a Tesla driver. Would I buy Tesla right now? No.
“Elon Musk hopefully will grow up or Tesla [should] bring in a day-to-day CEO or COO to operate the company and get the service and customer service right.”
Tesla isn't alone. Clark recommends staying away from all electric vehicles right now.
However, there’s hope for the intermediate or even the near future if you’re interested in buying an EV. Clark predicts that the total cost of ownership for an EV will be cheaper than a gas car, on average, by early 2025.
“Improvements in battery performance and battery cost are moving much quicker than scientists would’ve expected,” Clark says.
There are also many other automakers that have shifted resources toward manufacturing EVs and are soon to release their vehicles.
Sentiment toward Tesla has shifted dramatically.
In some cases, it’s due to macroeconomic conditions. But Tesla’s customer service and profit margins aren’t friendly to customers right now.
And Clark, a 10-year Tesla driver who loves the vehicles, cannot currently recommend that anyone buy one.
Perhaps the company will fix its customer service and other issues in the near future.
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