Steady consideration for Tesla despite recalls and headlines
May 2nd, 2024, Hoang Nguyen

Steady consideration for Tesla despite recalls and headlines

Tesla has faced a series of recalls over the years for various reasons, including steering problems, malfunctioning rearview cameras, and defective parts related to brakes, seats, suspension, and doors. More recently, Tesla made two significant recalls in the US.

In December 2023, it recalled over 2 million vehicles to address its Autopilot advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) with new safety measures. Then, in April 2024, it issued a separate recall for the recently launched Cybertruck due to safety concerns.

This article examines Tesla’s brand image amid these major recalls, specifically focusing on what consumers have been hearing about a brand (Buzz) and if there has been a change in the proportion of people considering a Tesla.

Are consumers hearing good or bad things about Tesla? Depends on whom you ask.

According to YouGov BrandIndex, Tesla’s Buzz scores last year remained consistently negative, averaging a score of -7.1. This indicates that conversations around the EV company leaned more toward the negative throughout 2023. We see a slight dip in scores going into 2024, as news broke of Tesla’s recall of its Autopilot ADAS.

However, there’s a significant difference between examining Buzz scores among Tesla’s current customer base. Here, consumer Buzz is considerably more positive - they steadily increased in the early half of 2023 before stabilizing.

Tesla averaged a net Buzz score of 61.8 among current customers last year, meaning Tesla owners were more likely to say they were hearing more positive things around the brand.

Despite headlines, consumer consideration for Tesla has not changed much

Consideration scores measure how likely a consumer is to consider a particular brand when making a future purchase. Tesla’s scores in this area remained relatively stable throughout 2023.

Among current Tesla owners, seven in 10 (70%) indicated they would consider buying a Tesla last year.

And while Tesla's Buzz scores among general consumers are negative overall, Consideration tells a slightly different story. First, Tesla’s scores are in positive territory: 7.7% of the US population say they would consider Tesla for their next car purchase. Secondly, Consideration scores among this audience have shown no significant change since the start of 2023.

It will be interesting to see how news of the Cyber truck recall and news of reported crashes involving Autopilot just days ago impacts Tesla’s brand image in the coming weeks. So far, news of brand recalls has not played a significant role in shaping consumer consideration for the brand, particularly among Tesla’s customer base.