What’s new from Tesla? It is difficult to say why the famous electric vehicle manufacturer seems to have taken the unusual step of dismantling its media relations department, which is in charge of responding to journalists.
Phone calls and e-mails sent to Tesla’s headquarters by AFP or any other communication medium do not receive an answer, just a few days before the company discloses its quarterly financial results.
The Electrek news website reported this month that Tesla had dissolved its media relations department, becoming the first car manufacturer to step away from the press.
It continues to communicate with its investors and the public directly from its website, in presentations and through the Twitter account of its president, Elon Musk, who has 39 million followers.
But the media that used to cover Tesla expressed their frustration at not being able to speak to them.
“I haven’t had a response from Tesla in months,” said Steve LeVine, a journalist at Medium who tracks the electric car industry. “I can’t say how many months ago, but I don’t remember an answer recently,” he added.
Consultations with the Tesla office, both in China and in Europe, are also not fruitful.
While many large companies are very reserved with the press, Tesla’s decision to distance itself completely from the media would be unprecedented for a company of its size.
In a recent interview with a New York Times podcast, Musk expressed frustration with press coverage at an event in September, at which the company presented its latest technological innovations.
“The media coverage of the event was sad,” he said. “Most of the press coverage was a sad reflection of his understanding,” he said.
Breaking with tradition is not, however, something new for Tesla, the only major vehicle manufacturer that sells directly to its customers, thus avoiding independent distributors, despite restrictions in some states.