If you want a new Tesla, and you get angry with Tesla CEO Elon Musk, you’d be wise to keep it to yourself.
Being Elon Musk has a lot of benefits, from being able to build a private spaceflight company to planning a magnet-powered vacuum tube supersonic transport system between LA and San Francisco.
A Californian venture capitalist Stewart Alsop learned that to his cost after he wrote an open letter to Musk about the badly run launch event for the Tesla Motors Model X (the newest car from Musk’s electric vehicle startup).
Headlined “Dear @ElonMusk: you should be ashamed of yourself”, the letter listed Alsop’s issues with the event: it started late, it focused too much on safety, and it was so packed that even people like Alsop, who had placed a $5,000 deposit on the car, which was originally supposed to ship in 2013, but had only delivered 208 cars by the end of 2015, didn’t get the chance to test drive it.
Alsop concluded “it would still be nice if you showed some class and apologized to the people who believe in this product”.
Instead, Alsop says, Musk cancelled his pre-order.
In a follow-up post, “Banned By Tesla!”, Alsop relayed his phone conversation with Musk: “I also hear that you are not comfortable having me own a Tesla car and have cancelled my order for a Tesla Model X.”
He added “I must also admit that I am a little taken aback to be banned by Tesla. When I wrote a blog post about my BMW X1 called ‘My Car Makes Me Feel Stoopid’, the CEO of BMW didn’t take the car back.”
Musk, for his part, tweeted to indicate that he doesn’t understand what the fuss is about:
Must be a slow news day if denying service to a super rude customer gets this much attention.
It’s not the first time Musk has demonstrated the level of personal control he exerts over Tesla. In late January, a frustrated Tesla customer revealed that a refurbished car that he had put a deposit on was never delivered – because Musk was using it to test out a new version of the fleet’s “Autopilot” feature.
Tesla eventually said that that “due to human error, a car from our test fleet was offered for sale. We apologize that this led to a frustrating experience. We are working to ensure that it never happens again.”