Tesla Shareholders Ask for Better Public Relations

Tesla held its annual shareholder gathering Tuesday where Chief Executive Elon Musk continued to pump upcoming advancements in vehicle design, autonomy, and manufacturing, while several attendees seemed to make a plea for the company to take stronger control of its narrative in the media.

Several attending shareholders either requested Tesla’s plan or offered their own in regards to media coverage that presents the company in a negative light. Some reports have suggested that Tesla has a demand problem and is teetering on bankruptcy.

“Very distressing and makes me sad,” Musk said about the negative coverage. “I don’t know what to do about it.”

But, Musk acted as if public relations is not currently a priority. There are no plans for advertising campaigns, as has been the case since the company’s founding.

“We’re currently selling more cars than we can make so spending money on advertising would make things worse financially,” Musk said.

Instead, he stressed Tesla’s focus on building battery cells to fill car orders, and building software to make those cars full-self-driving.

“There is not a demand problem. Absolutely not,” Musk said.

Sales have far exceeded production and production has been good, he said. In fact, Tesla may “have a shot at a record quarter.”

Musk shared that Tesla has the best revenue of any car on sale in the U.S.

“An electric vehicle is the highest revenue car in America, 10 years ago nobody would have believed it,” he said.

Investors also showed interest in Tesla’s upcoming pickup. Musk said it will likely be unveiled later this summer. He said the company aims to build “something more functional than an [Ford] F150, but a better sports car than a basic [Porsche] 911.”

In official business, Tesla shareholders rejected a proposal to shorten board members’ terms from three years to two years, while another proposal to change a supermajority voting requirement to a simple majority also failed.

Watch the full shareholders meeting here.

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