This Business

December 2021 - Tesla | 2nd Runner Up

Tesla may be a clean energy company, but it’s reputation is muddy—and that’s putting it nicely. Apparently CEO Elon Musk doesn’t think standard industry rules apply to him or his brand.

In August 2021, Vice reported that a dedicated Tesla repair shop quoted a customer a whopping $22,500 to replace a battery. Just the price of doing business? Not quite. An independent mechanic ended up fixing the faulty car part for just $5,000.

Anti-consumer practices seem to be baked into the Tesla business model, but are far from being the only problem. For example, upon learning that New Mexico doesn’t allow straight-to-consumer sales by automobile companies, Elon Musk opened a sales and service center on Native American land. It’s all a little “rules for thee but not for me,” especially on top of all the other ways the brand has ignored the law (from dubious Tweets to union busting).

Musk’s diehard fan base goes crazy for these anti-establishment moves. And that’s part of the problem. There’s no impetus to play fair when a crowd of trolls is cheering on your every move. The New Mexico “workaround” should be seen for what it is: a preview of what’s to come. If there’s a rule that can bend, Musk will be the one to do it. Which leaves us concerned when it comes to things like, oh, fair and safe labor practices or employee unions.

So what now? Honestly, Musk could totally pull off the unthinkable: registering Elon.Sucks and turning it into a communication powerhouse. After all, Musk’s 62.9+ million Twitter followers responded well to his poll about selling Tesla shares in order to pay taxes. A .SUCKS domain is perfect for being upfront about any scandals and controlling the brand’s (and Elon’s personal) online narrative.

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