Tesla CEO takes to Twitter to counter Consumer Reports review

Negative press coverage can send communicators and executives alike
scrambling to repair their brands’ images.

Elon Musk, founder and chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX, decided to
handle it head on—by tweeting his response.

Musk’s tweets came after Reports published a review of
Tesla’s Model 3, refusing to give the vehicle a recommendation.


Consumer Reports’
autos team lead, Patrick Olsen, wrote:

… In Consumer Reports’ tests, we found plenty to like about the luxury
compact sedan… Our testers also found flaws—big flaws—such as long
stopping distances in our emergency braking test and difficult-to-use
controls.

…The Tesla’s stopping distance of 152 feet from 60 mph was far worse than
any contemporary car we’ve tested and about 7 feet longer than the stopping
distance of a Ford F-150
full-sized pickup.

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Tesla immediately offered up data of its own, which contradicted Consumer Reports’ tests.

Olsen wrote:

A Tesla spokesperson told CR that the company’s own testing found stopping
distances from 60 to 0 mph were an average of 133 feet, with the same tires
as our Model 3. The automaker noted that stopping-distance results are
affected by variables such as road surface, weather conditions, tire
temperature, brake conditioning, outside temperature, and past driving
behavior that may have affected the brake system.


Engadget
reported:

Not surprisingly, Tesla took issue with the claim. In a statement, a
spokesperson maintained that its testing showed a 133-foot braking distance
using the 18-inch Michelin all-season tires. The company also claimed that CR‘s test units may have been affected by a number of factors,
including temperatures (both for the tires and the environment), the road
surface and even “past driving behavior.” And if there were issues, the
spokesperson said, Tesla was in a better place to “address more corner
cases” through software updates that could improve the stopping distance.

Though Tesla’s information was included in Consumer Reports’
article, the review was ultimately a ding for a company that must persuade
consumers to shell out big bucks for the more expensive versions of the
vehicle.


The Verge
reported:

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the final details of the dual-motor,
all-wheel drive version of the Model 3 over the weekend, including a
top-of-the-line variant that is more expensive than a base-level Model S or
X. While we’ve known for a long time that these were coming, this is the
most clarity Tesla’s offered yet about specs, pricing, and options.

Taken one way, it’s a sign Tesla is working through the
early production struggles
of the Model 3 and is ready to start offering more diverse options, much
like it does with the Model S or X. But Tesla also needs to sell these more
expensive Model 3s to grow its revenue at a time when the company is
spending more money than ever. In the meantime, Tesla is holding back on
making the cheapest version of what is supposed to be the company’s
“mass-market” electric car — a decision that Musk says is a matter of life
and death for the company.

So, Musk decided to address the article—as well as the Model 3’s
shortcomings—in a series of tweets:

Consumer Reports isn’t the only publication Musk has responded to after negative coverage, either. The executive also tersely refuted a report by Reveal that alleged the company wasn’t prioritizing employees’ safety and fired workers who wanted to form a union.

Musk
has a history of responding to both praise and criticism
through his Twitter account. The approach seems to be working, as well—and
not just with his fans.

On Tuesday, Consumer Reports published Musk’s response—though Olsen reiterated the publication’s report
of the Model 3’s subpar brake performance.

What do you think of Musk’s strategy to counter negative press?

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