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Radio Silence: Tesla’s PR Team Is Officially Disbanded

Radio Silence: Tesla’s PR Team Is Officially Disbanded

I can’t say I’ve got a lot of experience working with manufacturers directly in my few short years of writing for BangShift. I’ve had positive experiences with GM and Ford, and I’ve been sure to thank them for the opportunity. But within both the press drive for the then-newly released Ford Edge, and the event at Spring Mountain where I drove both the Chevrolet Cruze hatchback and a fleet of cars that demonstrated Chevrolet Performance’s internal ability to provide aftermarket parts to their Camaro and Cruze (and maybe those camo-wrapped cars that I got lucky enough to shoot photos of), I was treated well and my questions were answered to the best of their ability (or as far as they were willing to answer, in the case of the prototypes). We’ve done a few events like that, but for the most part our new vehicle testing is done via test-driving. We want to know how the car is to experience so that we can tell you how the car is to experience…that’s the information you really seek, right?

Well, in the case of new vehicles, until you get the keys and nobody riding next to you, you have to get information from the manufacturer. Especially when it comes to new vehicles that are just hitting the market. We also utilize manufacturers’s media outlets for those company-produced photos that they feel best represent their products. So the news that Tesla’s PR team is no longer a thing is a bit of an eye-opener. Tesla’s relationship with the media is best described as “weird”…at first keen to make friends and push out press releases, there is always the feeling that the company would rather not deal with anybody who has anything even remotely negative to say about their products. Is that good for business? Just an opinion, we don’t think so. During the worst of the Malaise years, right about the early 1980s, magazines and journalists were quick to point out every possible flaw in every car, and they did it for a reason: they hoped that somebody would listen and get off their ass and fix the problem. Tesla vehicles have been good enough to establish the company as a legitimate manufacturer over the past seventeen years, and the company has financially flourished. Ditching a PR team is a strange move, but most of Tesla’s changes have qualified as “odd”, yet look at where they are now.

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5 thoughts on “Radio Silence: Tesla’s PR Team Is Officially Disbanded

  1. Loren

    Few media in this era actually have the depth of understanding required to perform the service of a proper car review anyway, it’s mostly just about easy internet headlines which seems to be all people ask for. I’m not picking on anybody. Maybe there’s things coming that nobody wanted to be in PR having to handle (stock correction, lol), or perhaps Mr. Musk just got a stick-up-his-butt over the whole process and made an edict…we can only wonder what he’s thinking, again. Perhaps the elimination of the “Public Relations Dept.” is itself some kind of public relations move.

    Not since Henry Ford has there been a car company that felt like such a single individual, subject to his whims…maybe instead of the name of a long-deceased inventor the building should have some kind of oval script on the sides that says “Elon”.

  2. Danno

    When I think of Elon Musk and Tesla I cannot help but think of Steve Jobs and Apple. Both brilliant, creative, innovative leaders who led their companies to the top of their respective industries. That is until Steve Jobs stepped away as Apples leader. Innovation and direction ended and the company floundered. Jobs returned and successfully reestablished direction for Apple. Well, Jobs is gone now and it will be interesting to see where Apple goes. We certainly haven’t seen any true innovation coming out of Apple lately. That’s the problem with any organization lead by a single individual. They are only as successful as that one person can make them. Who is going to challenge such a strong leader with a successful track record and all the power? And what happens when the leader is gone? Life is tenuous and pretty short.

  3. Truckin Ted

    Every month or two it’s a dumpster fire at Tesla Automotive. I don’t know why anyone would be surprised. One of the big reasons that the rocket business has been successful is that they have to answer to NASA, in terms of quality and metrics.

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