Tesla CEO Elon Musk is facing criticism and disapproval from some Tesla drivers following his recent endorsement of an antisemitic conspiracy theory.
Business Insider sent reporters and editors to charging stations in New York and California to gauge the sentiments of Tesla owners regarding Musk’s controversial remarks.
While some drivers were hesitant to comment, those who did express their opinions largely disapproved of Musk’s behavior, with some suggesting that it could impact their future decisions related to the brand.
In New York City, a male driver in his early 30s, charging his Tesla Model 3, expressed strong disagreement with Musk’s recent posts on social media criticizing the Anti-Defamation League and appearing to support an antisemitic tweet.
He emphasized, “I do not agree with that. I do not agree with that.” Although cautious about sharing his name, he admitted that Musk’s behavior might influence his decision to purchase another Tesla in the future.
At the Del Monte shopping center in Monterey, California, a male driver in his 50s, who has been satisfied with his Tesla Model Y, voiced disappointment in Musk’s behavior. He expressed frustration, saying, “It’s frustrating — can’t he just shut up? I just want to drive my car. I don’t want anyone to hate me because I’m driving a Tesla.”
Similarly, a woman charging her Tesla at the Brooklyn Museum stated that she had no plans to renew her lease or consider purchasing another Tesla due to Elon Musk’s behavior, a sentiment she had held for a year. She chose not to disclose her name.
Rashed Mohammed, also charging at the Brooklyn location, claimed he had not heard of the recent controversy over Musk’s social media posts. He expressed his appreciation for Tesla as a brand and seemed relatively indifferent to Musk’s behavior.
Tesla Owners React to Elon Musk’s Controversial Comments
Some Tesla owners adopted a more nuanced perspective. A Tesla Model 3 owner believed that Musk’s controversial comments might be a strategic move to garner media attention for his company. He remarked, “I just feel like he’s an ordinary guy who’s a billionaire. And yeah, I think he likes the controversy and the media attention.”
However, another Tesla Model Y owner at the Monterey, California, shopping center felt that Musk’s behavior could influence his decision to buy another Tesla.
He remarked, “I definitely don’t agree with the comments, and I don’t know why he says them. It’s definitely not good for him or the brand.” While he enjoyed his Tesla, he admitted that Musk’s remarks could play a role in his future purchasing choices.
A male driver in his 40s, who was driving a Model S, initially had not heard of Musk’s recent comments. After being informed of the controversy, he expressed mixed feelings, describing Musk as “a weirdo.” He recognized the quality of the Tesla cars but suggested that Musk’s actions could affect his future car-buying decisions.
Another Tesla owner at the Brooklyn Museum charging station admitted to being “hesitant” about buying a Tesla a month ago due to his perception of Musk.
He stated, “My youngest son is 20 years old. He was always like, ‘I want an electric car, I want a Tesla.’ But as he’s gotten older, he’s like, ‘Hmm, I’m not so sure about that brand’ — because of Elon Musk.”
Elon Musk’s controversial remarks have elicited a range of responses from Tesla drivers, with some expressing strong disapproval and others adopting a more nuanced view of the situation. The sentiments of Tesla owners indicate that Musk’s behavior has become a topic of concern within the Tesla community.
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