Motor Mouth: Elon Musk is the auto trade’s Teflon Don

Tesla’s model loyalty continues unabated regardless of a CEO who can’t appear to remain out of the scandal sheets

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One of many prime automotive tales this week — it was second in Reuters’ auto trade feed after I awoke yesterday — was all about youngsters. Elon Musk’s youngsters, the truth is. As in he had extra of them. A second set of twins, if reminiscence serves.

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That, in itself, would appear trivial information.  What’s setting the blogosphere afire, nevertheless, is that these newest offspring — Musk now has 9 youngsters — have been born in November 2021, which, if you happen to take note of such issues, was simply a few weeks earlier than his ex-girlfriend Grimes, a.okay.a. Canadian songstress Claire Boucher, gave beginning to what was then considered his seventh little one. However wait, there’s extra: The explanation we discovered all this out is that the mom, Shivon Zilis, a prime govt at Musk’s Neuralink, the implantable brain-chip start-up, petitioned this previous April to vary the kids’s names to “Musk.” Topping all of it off, Enterprise Insider is speculating — as Reuters identified, the journal didn’t cite sources — that she can be being touted to move up Twitter when (or maybe if) Musk finalizes that buyout.

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Now, let’s be candid: the machinations of a bunch of publicity-hungry celebutantes matter not a whit to me. Nor ought to the moralities, matings, or procreation of those that lead our companies be any concern of ours, as long as all concerned are consenting, sentient adults making choices in one of the best pursuits of shareholders.

Nonetheless, I do marvel the place the traditional media outrage is. Think about, if you’ll, if it have been revealed that, say, an NFL quarterback or a very skivvy rock star or, worse but, a Republican politician, had had three youngsters by two completely different moms within the area of some weeks, the announcement of which coincided with scandal-sheet revelations of our paramour squiring one more superstar — Musk, Vainness Truthful lately revealed, is rumoured to be seeing Australian actress Natasha Bassett — about St. Tropez.

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And if this “multiply and go forth” interpretation of the King James isn’t sufficient to rankle the piously progressive, what in regards to the new 15-complainant-strong lawsuit charging Tesla with racism at its Fremont, California plant? If The Verge is to be believed, stated submitting consists of claims the corporate “allegedly left racist graffiti on lavatory partitions, benches, lockers, and workstations that contained ‘KKK,’ the N-word, and drawings of swastikas.” Or, as a result of the effectively of complaints relating to Tesla workplaces would appear to have no finish, how in regards to the current Reuters report of allegations that Tesla is giving laid-off staff much less severance than they “could be entitled to underneath a labor legislation,” on this case the Employee Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act? And, whereas we’re at it, the place’s Rose McGowan when it’s Elon Musk allegedly wagging his pee-pee at a flight attendant?

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In this file photo taken on February 10, 2022, Elon Musk speaks during a press conference at SpaceX’s Starbase facility near Boca Chica Village in South Texas.
On this file photograph taken on February 10, 2022, Elon Musk speaks throughout a press convention at SpaceX’s Starbase facility close to Boca Chica Village in South Texas. Picture by Jim Watson /Getty

Of far much less shock — no less than to a cynic who’s felt the complete brunt of Teslarati wrath — is Automotive Information’ ‘revelation’ that “Tesla leads in luxurious model loyalty, and it’s not slowing down.” In response to a person who measures such issues, Tom Libby, affiliate director at S&P World Mobility, whereas your entire luxurious section’s “model loyalty” — calculated by the proportion of consumers who select the identical model when buying and selling in or buying their subsequent car — has dropped by some 4.7 per cent, fealty to Tesla continues to develop. Sufficiently so, says Libby, that “Tesla’s type of, frankly, hiding somewhat little bit of the luxurious decline, which is actually twice as a lot as mainstream.”

Neither is it surprising that the corporate’s success shouldn’t be predicated on “stealing prospects from different manufacturers.” S&P’s information really says that the “firm’s conquest/defection ratio — a measure of what number of prospects are defecting to Tesla divided by what number of are leaving the model — was decrease than different luxurious and mainstream manufacturers. In different phrases, as a substitute of poaching prospects from different luxurious marques, World Mobility says Tesla’s success is the results of “inner loyalty.”

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What’s exhausting — really damned close to inconceivable — for me to fathom about this timeless devotion is that, in accordance with Libby, one of many principal causes for the timeless devotion to Tesla is Musk’s “distinctive character”: “I believe he’s a very proficient marketer. I say that going method past the vehicles, I believe he’s created a picture of himself and of the model that actually join with some individuals.”

That fealty would appear to transcend not solely the enterprise practices talked about above but in addition the very security considerations that almost all automotive customers say — or used to say, earlier than gasoline costs obtained out of hand — is their main buy standards. After years of seemingly avoiding the charged subject of accidents involving (semi-)autonomous vehicles, the U.S. Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Security Administration (NHTSA) lately launched information highlighting all of the crashes and fatalities involving vehicles with Superior Driver-Help Techniques (ADAS) between July 20, 2021; and Could 21, 2022. Of the 392 reported incidents, Teslas have been concerned in 273, together with, in accordance with The Verge, 9 fatalities.

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The remains of a Tesla vehicle are seen after it crashed in The Woodlands, Texas, April 17, 2021, in this still image from video obtained via social media.
The stays of a Tesla car are seen after it crashed in The Woodlands, Texas, April 17, 2021, on this nonetheless picture from video obtained by way of social media. Picture by Scott J. Engle /Reuters

Tesla loyalists, ever contrarian, declare that proportion is skewed by the massive variety of Autopilot-equipped Muskmobiles on the street, many persevering with to imagine that the Mannequin 3 is the most secure automotive on the street (a declare NHTSA requested Tesla to stop and desist).

In regular circumstances, any of the above allegations — to not point out sexual harassment accusations in opposition to Tesla managers, investor lawsuits over Tesla’s alleged “poisonous office tradition,” or reviews that 5 Area X workers have been fired merely for penning a letter criticizing founder Elon Musk — could be sufficient to tarnish the popularity of most company honchos.

However not Lord Elon. Certainly, now that the bloom is lastly off Justin Trudeau’s virtue-signalling rose and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been pressured to resign, Musk’s solely competitors amongst scandal-shrugging public figures is the (now-)Republican Musk’s soulmate, Donald Trump. Simply what the world wants, one other Teflon Don who “may stand in the course of Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and never lose voters…” Effectively, I imply, Tesla house owners.


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