Banned By Tesla!

Stewart Alsop
Feb 1, 2016 · 4 min read

Dear @ElonMusk: Thank you for reaching out to me. I heard from our phone conversation that you feel that my post, “Dear @ElonMusk: You should be ashamed of yourself”, was a personal attack on you. I also hear that you are not comfortable having me own a Tesla car and have cancelled my order for a Tesla Model X.

It’s funny because I wasn’t acting in my old role as a press pundit critiquing companies and their executives. I have done that a lot over the last 30+ years and am used to having CEOs of companies get upset with me.

In this case, I was actually just a customer who felt he had been ignored at an event designed for customers and ripped off the odd post about that event. You are the CEO of the company and were the lead presenter at and MC of that event. So I addressed the post to you, based on feeling that I had been invited as a customer to see the car I had ordered (sight unseen, I might mention) and left two hours after arriving (and 3.5 hours after leaving) without having actually seen the car!

You mentioned that you believed that the event only started 30 minutes late at 8:45pm (even though the invitation insisted that everybody be at the venue by 7:30pm sharp). I hear that you feel the event was a success and that you were able to hang out with people admiring and discussing the Model X until midnight. I suppose you think that I left too early at 9:00pm and should have stuck around longer if I really wanted to see the car.

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The Model X I ordered was red with black leather seats, and included the Ludicrous Speed option.

Anyway, the end result is that you have decided that I can’t own one of your cars, and I am terribly disappointed. I had outlined in the original post how excited I was at the prospect of owning a Tesla, especially the Model X and especially the configuration I ultimately ordered — the P90D in red with black leather seats and the Ludicrous Speed option.

I must also admit that I am a little taken aback to be banned by Tesla. When I wrote a blog post about my BMW X1 called “My Car Makes Me Feel Stoopid”, the CEO of BMW didn’t take the car back. And in the many articles and posts I have written criticizing products, companies and people, I have never been banned from doing business with any of the companies!

I understand that, by writing this post, I am making certain that I will never be able to buy a Tesla. Since we had our conversation, I looked around and realized that it is not possible to buy the equivalent of or even a pale copy of the Tesla Model X (or Model S, for that matter), which is real testament to how distinctive a product your company has produced. Indeed, I’m likely to just keep driving my irritating BMW X1.

I am mostly sorry not to be able to participate in the automobile revolution that Tesla started. You have created a car company when everybody decided decades ago that it was not possible. You have challenged the hateful and intimidating distribution system that forces people to be subjected to the hard sell even if they just want to buy a car they know they want. You have innovated on user experience, battery technology, autonomous operation, and virtually every other aspect of the automobile experience today. And you designed and produced a really beautiful and amazing car along the way!

I learned in the process of writing the first post and the tremendous attention it received (much to my surprise!) that Tesla Motor Company does not have a marketing department. We didn’t get a chance to talk about that, but I think it might be time for the company to take on such a function. At the very least, it might mean that your events start on time and they are designed for the people who are invited to attend. At least you won’t have irritating gadflies like me squawking about your events!

I have plenty of other comments to make about how to run your company, but I imagine that if you don’t want me to own one of your cars, you probably also aren’t interested in what I have to say about your company!

I guess this means I probably won’t be allowed to buy a SpaceX Dragon, either.

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