Elon Musk has to be hoping for a better year in 2023

Tesla CEO Elon Musk looks up as he addresses guests at the Offshore Northern Seas 2022 (ONS) meeting in Stavanger, Norway on August 29, 2022. NTB/AFP via Getty Images

So, Elon Musk, how was your year?

Interesting? Yes, at a minimum, and all of it recorded: Your name has 312,000,000 Google hits. Jesus Christ has 114,000,000.

SpaceX seems to be going well. The Boring Company, who knows. Twitter? Not great. You bought it, then declined to buy it, then bought it again. We aren’t sure what the business plan is, but we’re an automotive site, not a social media expert.

Which brings this automotive site to Tesla, which we can comment on. Tesla stock is, at this moment, $122.21. That’s down $277.79, or 69.46 percent year to date. You told the troops at Tesla to not be “bothered by stock market craziness,” but that’s easier said than done since so many of your employees are stockholders.

Tesla Model Y rear three-quarter dynamic road action year
Cameron Neveu

Then came the discounts, which suggested a slight air of desperation. On December 1, Tesla started offering a $3750 “credit” on Model 3 and Model Y vehicles delivered before the end of the year, said Reuters. Tesla then raised the credit to $7500. It also recently started offering free supercharging, up to 10,000 miles, for vehicles delivered in December. Granted, part of the reason for the spiffs is to keep product moving before 2023, when the federal government kicks in some spiffs of its own that will make electrics more attractive to buyers.

About that time, the problems in China surfaced: Production slowed, even shutting down shifts, and some of the top Chinese executives were transferred to the United States.

Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory
An aerial view of Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory on March 29, 2021, in Shanghai, China. Getty Images/Xiaolu Chu/

But one of the biggest problems you have, Elon, is the relentless and arguably unfair scrutiny of every incident that involves a Tesla crashing, or burning, or both. On Automotive News right now: A Reuters story with the headline, “NHTSA probes two more Tesla crashes involving suspected driver assistance,” and runs: “the new crashes under investigation include an eight-vehicle crash in San Francisco in which the driver of a 2021 Tesla Model S reported the Full-Self Driving feature had malfunctioned, according to a police report.”

And this: “Since 2016, NHTSA has opened 41 special crash investigations involving Tesla vehicles and where advanced driver assistance systems such as Autopilot were suspected of being used, including eight investigations in 2022. A total of 19 crash deaths have been reported in those Tesla-related investigations.”

There have been multiple investigations into self-driving features on other cars, but they just don’t seem to get the publicity that the probes into Tesla’s missteps do. It is not a confidence-inspiring presentation. And since you fired all your public relations people, there’s no way for the media to get a positive comment on any of this when we’re looking to hear from both sides. And yes, the media still does that.

2021 Tesla Model 3 Performance side profile driving action
Cameron Neveu

And just a couple of days ago, California passed Senate Bill 1398, which basically prohibits Tesla from advertising its cars as “self-driving.” The language: “A manufacturer or dealer shall not name any partial driving automation feature, or describe any partial driving automation feature in marketing materials, using language that implies or would otherwise lead a reasonable person to believe, that the feature allows the vehicle to function as an autonomous vehicle, as defined in Section 38750, or otherwise has functionality not actually included in the feature.”

Ouch. That’s how 2023 is starting out for you, Elon.

So what to do? How to stem the bad publicity, and the parade of competitors nipping at Tesla’s heels?

One way—and we’re just spit-balling here—might be to name an administrator for Twitter, and walk away from daily involvement. And go back to Tesla and run that company the way you used to, complete with a trusted PR department.

Granted, Tesla has a rabid following, much of it likely undeterred by any of the bad publicity you’ve been getting. But another year like 2022, and your assurance to your employees this past week—“Long-term, I believe very much that Tesla will be the most valuable company on Earth!”—sounds more like you are trying to convince yourself of that than your workers.

Happy New Year, Elon.

Tesla Model Y key card
Cameron Neveu
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    Tesla is already an innovative and transformational company and is poised to be the most transitional company ever and is still a very, very young company. Old school companies are copying Tesla. Tesla is tackling some of the toughest problems we have with their EV’s, solar and energy storage. Elon is far from perfect but he has changed the world, but don’t get the idea he is working alone. Tesla has 100,000 employees. By the way, if you get the chance, go for a ride in a Tesla. It is like riding on a magic carpet. Electric is the fastest way to eliminate the sucking of air, shifting of granny gears, stinking exhaust, oil drippings. I for one am looking forward to the classic conversions to electric, after all the small block chevy and ls swaps, electric is refreshing.

    So what does Tesla and ENRON have in common? Both were heavily endorsed and sponsored by the Highlands Forum, a clan-destined think tank under the Defense Intelligence Agency, (DIA)

    What do Musk, Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos and Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX crypto exchange fraud, have in common? They all were sponsored by Stanford advisors that worked with the intelligence community and silicon valley venture capitalists and were all trying to ride the wave on the next disruptive technology, to enhance our national security and make the tech elites richer following success with Google, Palentir and Fakebook. In all they have one thing in common and that they are all con-men.

    In the case of Tesla, its initial backing sponsored by a former CIA head under the Clinton Adm had its initial objective as to free our country from dependence from middle eastern oil. Then when fracking became successful, the narrative switched to climate change.

    Space Ex has a similar start as it was backed by a rouge one star General that once operated the Office of Strategic Influence, OSI, for the DIA and was responsible for the disinformation that got us into the Iraq war. This was also done with the help Rendon group, a reputation management firm that was heavily involved in the Highland Forum. The Rendon group was instrumental at propping up Musk and Tesla in the early days and later moved on to help the politicians in Sacramento to establish the new government standards to eliminate ICE engines.

    In this process, Musk was nothing more than a tool and puppet for more powerful forces backing him. This is why you witnessed such arrogance with Musk as he knew he was untouchable as he had a lot of help from the IC and others. Fast forward to the present and you see Musk making a thinly veiled attempt to woe the right into buying his cars by attacking the left who initially bankrolled all of his companies.

    What you are now witnessing with twitter is what insiders in the aerospace community knew for the last 14 years. Behind the curtain of secrecy, Musk is just a narcissist who believes the stories created for his benefit.

    I think it’s good that he is trying to make twitter a more politically neutral platform, but from a business perspective, I don’t know what he was thinking. In the process he’s devalued both twitter and Tesla.

    I’d like to see a story pushing back on all the land, defunct GM factories etc. being bought by Chinese companies. And why not take a look at the finances of the top 5 electric car companies, including investment from China and Chinese run companies. We’re racking up debt to the chinese in record numbers.

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