Sound the alarm bells: it appears that some of the most fervent Tesla cultists could be beginning to stray from the path in what could be an ominous sign for an automaker that has relied heavily on its cult status to stay afloat.
A new note from Bernstein this week suggests that enthusiasm could be waning for the Tesla brand, particularly in China. The note, which surveyed 457 owners, says that despite Tesla buyers remaining "fervent supporters" of the brand, more customers are likely to opt out of buying a Tesla in favor of buying a European luxury brand in future.
Bernstein says the data could support "initial buyer euphoria cooling off" in addition to reflecting the growing choice of EVs that consumers have. The note also said that “China’s results – while statistically not conclusive – are modestly worrisome.”
The note also pointed out what has been a half-decade-long ongoing problem for Tesla, service, which Bernstein called "Tesla’s Achilles heel”. It also wrote that lower-priced offerings from Tesla "aren’t necessarily attracting a more mass-market buyer, a departure from our last survey”.
Recall, back in June we noted that Tesla's global EV market share had collapsed to 11% in April, from 29% in March.
It marked Tesla's lowest monthly global market share since January 2019. The "greater than usual drop" came between the last month in Q1 and the end of the first month of Q2.
In Europe, the company posted EV market share of just 2% compared to 22% in March. In the United States, market share fell to 55% versus 72% in March.
While Tesla remains at the top of the heap in the U.S., there's no telling how long that is going to last. The company is now facing stiff competition from legacy automakers and is dealing with backlash from both dropping features and raising prices on its models, as we noted in June.
How long the rest of the Tesla cult clings to Elon Musk and his brand remains to be seen. But for now, it certainly feels like the clock is ticking...