Coming right on the heels of the landmark announcement that Tesla had “done it,” the company had created a fully electric family car for a middle-class budget, Tesla was forced to admit production wasn’t quite where they wanted it to be. As it turned out, they were way behind, but they were still taking pre-orders.

The company asked anxious customers to be patient, that they would solve their production problems. Now, it seems, they have. But it’s too little too late for some, apparently. Several media outlets are reporting that pre order cancellations have increased in recent weeks, and, worse, there have been more refunds than deposits lately.

What was the tipping point for Tesla? Some analysts believe it was because they didn’t get enough cars out to customers in time for said customers to take advantage of a hefty $7,500 tax credit. That tax incentive has now expired, and consumers can’t even buy the lowest priced Model 3 yet. So, the combination of losing the rebate and not being able to get the more affordable version of the car have combined to become a deal breaker for many customers.

How many orders are being canceled? As many as one-in-four, by some reports. Not a good development for a company that has already faced a string of difficult PR scenarios.

Speaking to the media, a Tesla representative denied that cancellations exceed the new orders coming in, but, so far, media sources are not retracting that element of the story. As for direct to consumer communication, Tesla is telling buyers fulfillment could take between one and nine months. That’s quite a window, and it’s tough to sell with enthusiasm.

For Tesla, it’s possible some of the bloom may have fallen off the rose. Sales of the upscale Model S and Model X have been described as underwhelming, and the automaker is facing stiff competition from a reinvigorated luxury market.

So… if the novelty of an electric machine is wearing off, Tesla will have to shift to targeted PR to re-energize its brand. The company needs good news, and it needs happy customers, and it needs both very soon. Unfortunately, projections say there will be more bad news for Tesla before the year is done. The company is not expected to hit its much-promoted target of delivering 100,000 units by year’s end. To get there, they would need to engineer a massive increase in sales over the final five months of the year. It’s possible, but it will take a good dose of Tesla magic.

Customers want to be amazed and astounded by the new tech, and they want to be surprised at how accessible it actually is. Tesla built its brand by doing those things consistently and doing them well. They got people interested, now they just have to deliver. At the moment, that’s not going too well.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO and Founder of 5W Public Relations.

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.

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