Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla (TSLA) wich is expected to make big and splashy announcements. He enjoys creating buzz and knows how to divert attention when one of his companies is faced with a communication and image crisis.
He did it with flying colors recently when a Washington Post story recently detailed the relations between the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Tesla over the investigation into the first fatal accident involving Autopilot, Tesla’s driver assistance system, in 2016.
But one of his most spectacular blows was to torpedo the communication of the California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
In February, The agency was preparing to file a complaint against Tesla for the treatment of its Black employees but Tesla took the agency by surprise by publishing a blog post long before the agency filed its discrimination and harassment complaint.
In its post, Tesla questioned the credibility of the agency. The merit of this strategy was to dictate the coverage of this event and to have control over it. Instead of being on the defensive, Tesla and Musk were on the attack.
While Tesla has just extended the closure of its Shanghai factory, the Austin-based group’s largest production site, to comply with the local lockdown intended to limit the resurgence of Covid-19, Musk has just made a huge promise.
The billionaire is due to inaugurate the official opening of the Tesla factory in Austin on April 7. This site is a $1.1 billion, 4.3-million square foot facility. It will be dedicated to the manufacture and assemble of Model Y SUVs, and will also house a battery development plant, the heart of the electric car.