Is Tesla’s reputation ruined? It depends on who you ask

Conversations around Tesla’s reputation leaned toward the negative throughout 2023, but it depends on who you’re talking to, reports YouGov.

What’s the ‘Buzz’ about Tesla’s reputation?

The global market research firm conducted polls about what it calls the “Buzz” around Tesla – that is, what people are hearing about the brand – and whether there’s been a change in the proportion of people considering driving its EVs following recalls and recent negative headlines.

YouGov asked US adults about “Buzz” between January 2023 and April 2024:

Over the past two weeks, which of the following brands have you heard something POSITIVE / NEGATIVE about (whether in the news, through advertising, or talking to friends and family)?

Tesla’s Buzz scores stayed consistently negative through 2023 among YouGov’s “all US adults” category, with an average score of -7.1 in a score range of -20 to 90, and its scores dipped a bit further following the Autopilot ADAS recall in December.

Tesla’s customer base had considerably higher Buzz scores in 2023, meaning they were more likely to say they were hearing positive things about the brand. Current Tesla customers averaged a net Buzz score of 61.8, and that steadily increased in the early half of 2023 before stabilizing.

Would you still buy a Tesla?

Here’s where it gets interesting.

YouGov asked consumers between January and December 2023 whether they’d consider a Tesla when making a future purchase, and 70% of current Tesla owners said they would consider buying a Tesla.

In the “all US adults” category, unlike Tesla’s negative reputation results, it’s a positive percentage: 7.7% say they would consider Tesla for their next car purchase, and scores in this group have shown no significant change since Q1 2023.

YouGov concludes that “news of brand recalls has not played a significant role in shaping consumer consideration for the brand, particularly among Tesla’s customer base.”

Electrek’s Take

This is intriguing but not shocking. Tesla has a highly loyal customer base. The lease is about to end on my Tesla Model 3. We planned to sign a new lease for a Model Y. The recalls haven’t bothered me much, but all the turmoil that Fred and Jamie have reported on in recent weeks has. It’s most definitely killed my Tesla buzz.

When I leased this Model 3, I felt excited and proud. Now I feel disappointed and deflated by what’s happened at Tesla in recent weeks, thanks to Elon Musk’s layoffs and his bizarre decision to wipe out the entire Supercharger team. One of the best things about driving a Tesla is the Supercharger network.

Plus, it’s important to note that YouGov’s poll about next car purchases doesn’t extend into 2024, so it’d be interesting to see how all the recent drama has affected Tesla’s reputation with Tesla drivers.

I’m still considering a Tesla for my next car selection because, well, Tesla drivers know why. But I’d have to hold my nose while making that choice – I know it’s probably still good for me, but it’s now a bitter pill to swallow.

Read more: I just bought my very first Tesla. Here’s what happened


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