Putting Testy Tesla To the Test

Posted on February 25, 2013 by - Also by this author

GROWING PAINS: The recent spat between Tesla Motors and the New York Times over its road test review of the Tesla Model S Sedan does not flatter the electric vehicle maker. It's a case study on how not to handle a PR snafu.

LCT Magazine got a taste of such sensitivity recently in our dealings with Tesla S:

  • Our initial positive coverage of the vehicle was greeted with requests to closely approve and review any future content about Tesla in LCT Magazine. That’s a big PR mistake: Nothing annoys or alienates the media more than patronizing demands by a company or source to review content as if the media is an extension of the corporate P.R. department. A source or company may review content before publication — but that request should come from the media end in the name of accuracy.
  • LCT offered Tesla access for test drives, a hand-picked focus group, along with news coverage and photos, at the International LCT Show in Las Vegas. But despite considerable time spent by staff, along with positive preview exposure in the January 2013 issue of LCT Magazine, Tesla backed out at the last minute, forgoing a valuable opportunity to build buzz and possible future demand in the chauffeured transportation sector.  

And while we’re on the subjects of sensitivity, skepticism and sales. . . 

Another question that the media needs to keep hammering: If Tesla founder Elon Musk of Pay Pal fame is worth a reported $2.4 billion, why is his company accepting federal and state subsidies and tax credits at the expense of taxpayers? Does it make sense at a time of unprecedented fiscal and budgetary constraints among the federal and many state governments, including California?

Green energy may indeed be superior to conventional sources someday, but the sector needs to crawl, stand and toddle on its own. The green fledglings should play by the same rules as other private sector venture capitalists and entrepreneurs: Bring a product or service to market that becomes financially “sustainable” and profitable because people say “Wow” and want to buy it.

If the Tesla S is truly a groundbreaking and innovative vehicle, it should succeed on its own profitable merits. There is still promising potential that it can, and we would like to see it gain market share in the premium luxury chauffeured vehicle category. Limousine operators stand to save a lot of money on fuel and maintenance with the right electric luxury sedan.

If it cannot, engineers and designers need to take more time to produce a vehicle fueled by private sector funds only and that can thrive on the free market. Such a vehicle would be a genuine alternative to fossil fueled vehicles: Efficient, cleaner, competitive, affordable and reliable.

— Martin Romjue, LCT editor


View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More LCT Blog Blog Posts

March 8, 2017

Immigration Issues Can Hit Limo Operators

Illegal or not, immigrants in one California region spend hard-earned money on renting stretch limousines.

March 1, 2017

Did The Dent Fairy Come To Visit You?

Unlike the tooth fairy and baby teeth, the dent fairy never runs out of vehicles.

February 15, 2017

My Unofficial International LCT Show Agenda

The suite parties, charity fundraisers, and off-the-grid get togethers round out a complete global industry trade show.

February 14, 2017

How To Practice Common Sense Customer Service

It's one of the most important and difficult qualities to hire for, since it emerges in unexpected situations on the job.

February 1, 2017

3 Big Fouls From My First Uber Rides

Operators don't have much to worry about if TNC drivers keep acting like this.

See More

Facebook Comments ()

Comments (0)

Post a Comment



See More

LCT Store

LCT Magazine - June/Fact Book 2017 $12.95 * Facts & Stats * Directors & Guides *


Experience the three annual industry events for networking for business, showcasing vehicles and products, and getting the tools for success.

Read About Your Region

What’s Happening Near You?
Click on any state to see the latest industry news and events in that region.

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment



Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Metro Magazine

Serving the bus and passenger rail industries for more than a century

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

Please sign in or register to .    Close