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Saying he “doesn’t believe in manipulating public opinion” in an Eletrek article, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has reaffirmed he’s not going to recreate the company’s PR department.
The electric motor vehicle company eliminated its PR team in October 2020. This included Tesla’s global communications director Keely Sulprizio moving to Impossible Foods as comms director, and senior global communications manager Danielle Meister leaving to join WhatsApp.
But now with Tesla valued at more than US$600 billion and Q1 2021 having its record high quarterly profit at $438 million, some backers and supporters of the company are saying it’s time to staff up with PR experts.
When asked by a Twitter user if Tesla would consider hiring a PR person on Tuesday (April 27), Musk tweeted, “Other companies spend money on advertising & manipulating public opinion, Tesla focuses on the product. I trust the people.”
Other companies spend money on advertising & manipulating public opinion, Tesla focuses on the product.
I trust the people.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 27, 2021
Although popular, the company is not immune to negative press. Multiple reputable news outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and CBS News reported that much of Tesla’s profits came from bitcoin and selling emission credits.
Musk has responded to media reports on his Twitter account, where he has 52.2 million followers. And the company seems to easily dominate headlines without having PR agents issuing press releases and contacting journalists.
Yet with the recent Tesla Model S autopilot car crash killing two people in Texas, confusion has arisen. Public relations would have a role not only with potential liability issues for Tesla but also in providing consistent accurate information to both the media and the public.