ELON MUSK: I'm Not Sure We Could've Come Back From The Tesla Car Fires Without The Help Of Social Media

Tesla fireYouTubeA Tesla Model S catches fire on Washington State Route 167 in October

Tesla’s stock took a huge beating back in October and November after there were three separate Model S fires reported within in six weeks.

None of the fires were spontaneous; they were all caused by accidents.

At the time, Tesla CEO Elon Musk went on the offensive and blogged about the safety of the vehicle.

In the Q4 earnings conference call earlier today, Musk was asked about the impact that the reports had on demand. He admitted he was “quite worried” about it. But it was his opinion on the power of social media that we found interesing. From the call:

“At first we saw a significant drop in demand and we were quite worried about it. And then as consumers came to understand that this was really a media driven thing, and not a real danger with the car, our sales have improved steadily since then, and continued to improve since that initial news.

“Basically consumers have come to understand that out car has a far lower propensity for fire than a gasoline car by a half order of magnitude and so as consumers became aware of that their fears subsided.

“I think it’s great that we live in an era where there’s the internet and social media so that when the fans are flamed literally by the media there is at least a path for consumers to understand what is really going on. In the absence of social media, I’m not sure we would have been able to correct the misperception.

Musk also went on to say he thinks the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) probe into Model S safety will yield positive results. And as regulatory agencies go, the U.S. was “the lone holdout.”

A fourth fire involving a Model S was reported in Toronto, Canada earlier this month. While we don’t know if it was spontaneous it took place in the garage of a Tesla owner after he returned from a drive.

Tesla has yet to clarify what caused the fire, though they say it didn’t originate in battery, the charging system, the adaptor or the electrical receptacle.

Listen to Musk talk about it here:

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