As Tesla sales slump, how has the company progressed since Elon Musk bought Twitter?
May 17th, 2024, Steve Hatch

As Tesla sales slump, how has the company progressed since Elon Musk bought Twitter?

Tesla sales are down, its Cybertruck product is facing recalls, and the automaker is cutting jobs – and prices – in response. Some investors have put this decline in fortunes down to the fact that Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, is also dealing with running media giant X/Twitter. Others, meanwhile, have pointed to the broader tides pulling on the automotive industry right now. But what have British consumers made of the carmaker‘s brand over the past couple of years?

YouGov BrandIndex UK can show that, since a transfer in ownership of Twitter was first mooted back in April 2022, Tesla’s image has deteriorated. The manufacturer’s Index scores, our measure of overall brand health, were at 7.6 on 14 April 2022 – the day the news broke – compared to a score of 8.5 for the average car brand. By 28 October of that year, when the acquisition was completed, scores had dropped to 4.0, and they have not been as high since. At their lowest, Tesla’s brand health measures sunk to -4.2 (26 Jan 2023), and our more recent data (30 April 2024) has them at -2.6.

In just a little over two years, the automaker has gone from being nearly as robust a brand as the average car manufacturer to – given the average score of 9.4 for car brands across the sector – one that’s 12 points less healthy.

The car manufacturer’s biggest shareholder – Musk - has argued that it has been a “tough quarter” for others in the sector, and it would be too easy to draw a direct line between his online profile and Tesla’s recent performance. But the data nevertheless underscores what a difficult few months this has been for the automaker’s brand, which may have been particularly harmed in comparison to other non-EV specialists by the bumpy recent nature of electric vehicle demand.