This is how Elon Musk turned a Cybertruck accident into a PR coup that generated buzz for Tesla and a surprising TSLA stock rally.
It was a smashing weekend for electric vehicle maker Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), and not in a good way. Two of the firm’s vehicles were involved in traffic accidents, one of which was being driven by Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
Despite that, TSLA stock managed to climb higher this week. So far, the stock is up 4% with no signs of slowing.
This weekend Elon Musk was spotted out celebrating at Malibu hotspot Nobu after winning his defamation case. Driving the firm’s futuristic-looking Cybertruck, which isn’t yet available for purchase, Musk was hard to miss.
Video of the truck leaving Nobu shows that Musk disregarded a sign directing patrons not to turn left, running it over in the process.
Luckily for Musk, the Cybertruck took the hit in stride— an important win for Tesla after its botched unveiling.
The weekend also yielded another auto-pilot accident, this time involving two state troopers in Connecticut.
The two police vehicles responded to a disabled vehicle on I-95 when a Tesla Model 3 hit one of the state troopers’ vehicles from behind and then continued on to hit the disabled car as well. Connecticut state police say the Model 3 then carried on driving slowly for a few hundred feet.
The driver said he was checking on his dog in the back seat while the car was on “auto-pilot.”
The incident reignited questions about the safety of Tesla’s semi-autonomous driving features, which seem to lure drivers into a false sense of security. Despite the firm’s warnings that drivers should still be supervising the system’s driving capabilities, people still seem to believe the cars can drive themselves unassisted.
Tesla shareholders shrugged at the news, though, and the stock kept climbing. While the Model 3 accident shines a light on the safety concerns surrounding autonomous driving, no one was injured in the accident, and the driver was found to be at fault.
Musk’s traffic sign snafu, on the other hand, illustrates the reason Tesla doesn’t have to pay for advertising like its automaker peers. It created buzz about the Cybertruck. Videos of the vehicle driving on the highway and photos of Musk in the driver’s seat made the rounds on social media as the masses talked about the truck’s maiden voyage.
Whether he does it on purpose or not, Elon Musk is great at generating a buzz for his company.
Instead of talking about his blatant disregard for traffic rules, people are talking about the car. People are talking about Tesla’s patent application for some kind of bizarre laser windshield wipers. They’re hoping the lasers will come mounted to the Cybertruck because that’s really the only way the car could get more futuristic.
TSLA shareholders are buying into the electric vehicle trend, sure, but they could also do that with a number of other companies. If you own Tesla, you’re buying into Elon Musk’s personal brand of business— a big part of which is media stunts.
This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.
Last modified: January 22, 2020 11:41 PM UTC