Elon Musk Postpones India Visit, Says ‘Very Heavy Tesla Obligations’; Musk’s ‘Ache Din’ Gives Way to Challenges? What’s wrong with Tesla?

Elon Musk has postponed his visit to India due to “very heavy commitments”, as confirmed by Tesla’s CEO on Saturday.

Initially, Musk had stated his intention to travel to India from April 21 to 22 to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and possibly announce plans to enter the Indian market.

“Unfortunately, Tesla’s very heavy commitments require the India visit to be postponed, but I am very much looking forward to visiting later this year,” Musk said on X.

Musk’s announcement was in response to an account called “DogeDesigner,” which referenced a report stating that the X owner would not be able to make his planned trip to India, reportedly due to an April 23 conference call in the US to answer questions about Tesla’s first quarter performance.

On April 10, Musk tweeted: “Looking forward to meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India!”

Musk was expected to announce an investment of $2 billion to $3 billion in New Delhi, mainly to build a factory in India. The same followed the government’s announcement of a policy to reduce high tariffs on imported cars if companies invest locally.

Moreover, Musk would meet executives from several space startups in New Delhi.

The investment is in the pipeline even as it awaits Indian government approval to offer its Starlink satellite broadband services in India.

Tesla, Elon Musk

Tesla’s big test

Tesla may have seen the announcement in India as an opportunity to reassure investors after months of share price declines, exacerbated by news on April 15 of its intention to lay off more than 10% of its global workforce.

On April 5, it was reported that Tesla had halted development of its long-awaited affordable electric car, commonly referred to as the Model 2.

However, Musk dismissed the report as false without specifying any inaccuracies, although he did not discuss the model further, leaving investors seeking clarity.

According to sources, Rohan Patel, a Tesla policy official who was reportedly involved in the company’s plans to enter India, also resigned this week.

The consequences of the Cybertrucks
However, Tesla has more on its plate. A whole series of challenges led to a drop of more than 11% in share values ​​in April and a staggering 37% drop this year for the electric vehicle manufacturer.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced Friday that Tesla is recalling 3,878 Cybertrucks to address a possible problem with the accelerator pedal, which could become loose and stuck in the interior trim, causing the vehicle to could unintentionally accelerate, causing the speed to increase. risk of a crash.

Tesla began deliveries of its Cybertruck electric pickup late last year, after a two-year delay due to production issues and battery supply constraints.

The NHTSA stated that Tesla will replace or repair the accelerator pedal free of charge, with owners notified by mail in June.

In the first quarter of 2024, the EV maker faced three recalls affecting about 2.4 million vehicles, according to recall management company BizzyCar.

Nevertheless, most Tesla recall issues are typically resolved via over-the-air software updates.

In February, Tesla recalled about 2.2 million vehicles in the United States due to incorrect font size on warning lights. U.S. safety regulators have also increased their investigation into the company’s vehicles regarding power steering loss to the status of an engineering analysis.

Can lowering prices help?
Tesla cut $2,000 in the prices of three of its five models in the United States late Friday, highlighting the challenges facing the electric vehicle maker.

The price adjustments did not affect the Model 3 sedan and Cybertruck, which maintained their existing prices. Consequently, the starting price for a Model Y dropped to $42,990, while a Model S now starts at $72,990, and a Model X at $77,990.

This move came after Tesla’s stock fell below $150 per share, wiping out all of the gains made over the past year.

The company’s stock price is down about 40% this year due to declining sales and increased competition; reduced sticker prices are an attempt to attract more car buyers.

Industry analysts anticipated Tesla’s introduction of a small electric vehicle priced around $25,000 known as the Model 2.

Reports this month suggesting Musk planned to abandon the project fueled further uncertainty about the company’s trajectory, although Musk refuted these claims as false.

To divide the tasks
The price cuts marked the end of a challenging week at Tesla, which were announced on MondayThe decision to reduce its global workforce by 10% will impact approximately 14,000 positions.

Tesla will announce its first quarter figures on Tuesday.

The decline marked Tesla’s first quarterly annualized sales decline in nearly four years.

What’s the problem with Tesla?
Tesla made himself vulnerable by not introducing new products quickly enough to maintain consumer interest. Moreover, its CEO, Elon Musk has become a figure that many people hesitate to align with, even when it comes to a quality car.

Meanwhile, electric vehicle sales in the United States have remained steady in recent months.

Although EV sales growth has been slowing for some time, estimates from Cox Automotive suggest that EV sales have been relatively stagnant over the past two quarters.

However, deeper research shows that what appears to be a general lack of interest in electric vehicles may mainly be a result of reduced enthusiasm for Tesla.

Several automakers, including Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Rivian, have reported more than 50% growth in electric vehicle sales over the past year. as highlighted by Stephanie Valdez Streaty, an analyst at Cox Automotive, in a presentation summarizing industry trends for the new year.

Ford later announced an 86% increase in its EV sales.

Throughout 2024, Tesla’s stock price has plummeted by almost a third, due to disappointing sales and profits for the company. It is one of the worst performing stocks within the S&P 500 index so far this year.

Although Tesla sales rose 38% last year compared to 2022, investors had expected even stronger growth. In January, Tesla warned that sales growth would be significantly slower this year.

Contrary to expectations, turnover has remained stable in 2024. Instead, Tesla’s global sales fell by more than 20% in the first quarter compared to the same period last year, marking the first instance of sales decline since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chinese automakers such as BYD pose a significant global threat, although they have yet to enter the US market. Musk himself has called them “the most competitive car companies in the world.”

The Musk factor
Tesla CEO Elon Musk may also be contributing to the brand’s challenges with his increasingly controversial public statements.

Survey data from Calibre, a Danish reputation management company, shows that Tesla’s reputation and customer purchasing considerations for its vehicles saw a sharp decline from early 2022 – the year Musk took control of the social media platform that was previously was known as Twitter – and that this is still the case. have deteriorated since then.

While Caliber’s data cannot definitively pinpoint the specific causes, the company’s investigation also revealed unfavorable opinions from Musk himself.

According to Søren Holm, Caliber’s head of customer service, Musk and Tesla are closely intertwined in public perception, to a degree that exceeds most CEOs and their respective companies.

“He couldn’t possibly be more prominent atop Tesla than he is. He’s the person of the year, he’s the richest person in the world. He is praised everywhere,” Holm noted in an interview with CNN. “Yet he uses all this typically positive attention to generate negative attention around himself.”

Both Musk and Tesla receive low scores in Caliber’s analyzes for ‘trust and likeability’.
Recent declines in these scores for

Opinions about Tesla saw a sharp decline starting in 2022, coinciding with Musk’s public opposition to Covid-19 restrictions. This downward trend has continued as Musk has made or endorsed statements that were racist, anti-Semitic or controversial.

“He’s starting to get a reputation for being somewhat unpredictable,” Holm noted.

Holm noted that as competing models come to market with similar prices, quality and performance to Tesla’s, the negative associations Musk brings to the brand could deter potential buyers.