Tesla owners still love their cars, but they’re souring on CEO Elon Musk, a new survey finds.
Bloomberg recently rebooted a survey of 5,000 Tesla owners it first polled in 2019, and while all of the results are worth reading through in detail for Tesla fans, some trends stand out that relate to the market at large.
Asked the same questions, these owners had plenty of negative things to say about Musk while retaining positive feelings about their cars.
A majority of owners agreed that Musk’s recent public statements had harmed Tesla’s reputation, and that the billionaire’s acquisition of Twitter (which he recently renamed X) was a distraction from his responsibilities at Tesla. Musk, according to the survey, is the leading reason owners walk away from Tesla. Not the vehicles.
The Tesla Model 3 received “near-universal praise” according to Bloomberg. A majority of owners also said they were “satisfied” with their cars’ reliability, indicating that the Model 3 has held up well since the previous survey in 2019.
Musk has of course been at the core of some of the most controversial moments for Tesla, from its IPO in 2010 to his “going-private” tweet in 2018, to beyond-possible product plans that have included the Cybertruck, Roadster, and Semi on a tight timeline.
Respondents were already aware of many of these controversies when Bloomberg conducted the first survey in 2019, yet the picture that survey created of the Tesla CEO was more positive than in 2023.
Why some Tesla owners walk away from the brand (from 2023 Bloomberg Tesla owner survey)
One change is that Musk has become more overtly political, and more vocal about any right-leaning political positions. A majority of respondents agreed that Musk should stay out of politics. Views of him were worse among those who follow his public statements closely, and even worse among Democrats, according to Bloomberg. Those who voted for Donald Trump had more positive views of Musk, although even that contingent wasn’t enthusiastic about Musk’s Twitter purchase.
Dislike of Musk doesn’t seem to be enough to dissuade most Tesla owners from returning to the brand, though. Nearly 75% of Model 3 owners surveyed who plan to buy a new car in the next two years said they were considering another Tesla. Just over 50% said the Cybertruck topped their lists.
Tesla Model 3 at Supercharger
Model 3 owners thinking about purchasing a non-Tesla vehicle in the next two years are generally considering other EVs, the survey found. The Rivian R1S and R1T were the most likely to be considered, followed the Ford F-150 Lightning and Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6.