The Tesla Model 3 – The Car of the Future?
We turned to social media to find out if the Tesla Model 3 is all it claims to be….
Yes it’s here…almost…the brain child of eco-evolutionary Elon Musk, the affordable electric car of the future, the Tesla Model 3. As the first 50 rolled off the production line and were handed out to Tesla employees, the other half a million people who have put down their $1,000 deposit still await their Model 3 with tangible excitement.
In case you haven’t heard of eco-warrior Elon Tusk and his company Tesla, the Model 3 is the successor to the Tesla S and X. Although the S and X were marketed as premium electric cars with prices starting at above $75,000, the Model 3 is seen as the affordable electric car for the masses and comes at almost half the price for a mere $35,000.
The reaction has been overwhelming, with a smug looking Musk claiming that 80% of the journalists who test drove the Model 3 said they would buy one, with the remaining 20% still saying they ‘might’.
But this is where the problem lies.
If only journalists and engineers have driven the Model 3, how do we, the consumer, know the Model 3 is all it’s cracked up to be? $35,000 is still a lot of money to part with on the word of a journalist or Tesla engineer.
The Tesla is praised as economic, autonomous, the future….but the substance of how it drives is lost. Yes, we have the views of journalists but the common man is no closer to driving the Tesla 3 than Neymar is to a normal working salary.
Traditional online media is full of praise for the Model 3 but it specifically focuses on the gadgets, spec and tech surrounding it. The lack of key, the touchscreen only single central display, semi-autonomous driving and the 220 miles per charge are all features to make the journalists swoon….and that’s before you even touch on the environmental bonuses.
However, while it’s easy to find facts on these details, judgements on how the Tesla actually drives are limited. In fact, except for a review by Top Gear online, none of the UK’s main newspapers or journals mentioned much about performance which is bizarre. After all, this is a car they’re reviewing, not a high tech eco-friendly toaster.
So yes….the journalists love the Tesla. But what does social media have to do say? Well, social media activity remains relatively small around the experience of driving the Tesla. This may be because there are only 50 Model 3’s in existence so the pool of people who have experienced them will be low.
Thus far, it seems that the buzz around Tesla is reliant on news outlets, coupled with the buzz that Elon Musk can make.
When there is comment on social media for Tesla’s previous models, the S and X, it is mostly prediction based or a plea for more details – not comments from those who already own a Tesla.
So what can we take from the above? Tesla are obviously a perfect example of a brand that is still very much in control of their brand messaging and even information access – not an easy accomplishment in such a connected world. But surely that should pass.
Coming from the perspective of a company where social media analytics are at the heart of what we do, I can’t help but think this: Will the defining point in the Tesla Model 3’s marketing be the battle on social media?
When push comes to shove and more people are driving Tesla’s, heads high in the clean air that the Model 3 leaves in its wake, then we can truly tell the the impact. It’s one thing hearing a bunch of journalists rave about the eco side to the Model 3, but peer to peer review and the influence of social media cannot be underestimated.
Already snippets of negative press of how someone was watching Harry Potter in their self-driving Tesla X died when it crashed are surfacing. Furthermore, the Model 3’s reliability has not come into question as no one has owned one for a reasonable amount of time – if your new Tesla breaks down after 4 months while you’re rushing to Homebase to get the latest eco-friendly light bulb and a bag of mulch (or however Tesla drivers spend their time), the first person to hear about it will be social media.
All in all, the Tesla Model 3 may have won the pre-launch battle, but let’s see if social media and the online community agree with Musk’s claim of it being the car of the future.
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