Elon Musk is used to facing critics, haters and detractors.
He even likes these battles very much.
Sometimes he even tends to provoke his supposed enemies. The Techno King, as he’s known at Tesla (TSLA) – Get Free Report, likes to turn his opponents’ attacks into counterattacks. The serial entrepreneur is never as lethal as when he is on defense.
These adversaries he knows them. He knows their angles of attack. Certainly some of these criticisms annoy him but he always finds the line of response to repel the detractors.
He can also count on his legion of fans, many of whom are Tesla die-hard fans. They believe in his promises of transforming the world and beyond our civilization. They applaud his iconoclastic side and do not hesitate to cry genius when he announces a new product. The billionaire always knew he could count on these admirers.
The Revolt of the Retail Investor
But what he never anticipated was that some of these fans would come after him. He therefore never prepared for it because he always counted on their loyalty to him. It turns out that Musk was wrong.
For several weeks now, the CEO of Tesla has been the target of repeated criticism from some retail investors. Investor Leo KuGuan, who is the car maker’s third largest individual shareholder after Musk and Oracle (ORCL) – Get Free Report co-founder Larry Ellison, went so far as to sound a revolt against Musk.
“I am 100% in Tesla bc I believe in Elon Musk and Tesla,” KoGuan wrote on Twitter on Jan. 7. “But he is killing SH and Tesla. If I knew I wouldn’t invest in Tesla.”
“Elon invested ≈$200mm but took out $40B, Larry invested $1B, I invested over $3B, I have no choice but to act and speak out. I cry out to U for help!”
The criticisms of these investors are the consequence of Tesla’s stock market rout. In 2022, Tesla stock lost 65% of its value, translating to more than $600 billion in market capitalization evaporated in a year. Tesla’s market value is currently $357 billion, down from over $1 trillion at the start of 2022. Over the first four trading sessions of 2023, Tesla shares lost 8.2% to $113.06.
While Musk attributes this stock market disaster to macroeconomic factors like the Federal Reserve‘s aggressive interest rate hike to fight inflation and the energy crisis in Europe, many Tesla shareholders believe that his acquisition of Twitter for $44 billion is the big problem.
They claim that when Musk set his sights on the social media platform, he completely left Tesla behind. Worse, he has alienated many Tesla buyers by attacking progressives and Democrats on Twitter regularly.
Tesla Outperforms Its Rivals
Retail investors together own 41.9% of Tesla shares as of Dec. 5, according to WallStreetZen. Institutional investors hold the biggest block with 43.01% of the shares. The balance is held by the company’s executives, ie 15%.
While Musk once responded to some criticism a while back, he’s been quiet lately. This is no doubt due to the fact that he must observe the quiet period until the publication of the company’s earnings on January 25. Until that date, the management team musk remain silent so as not to influence the share price to the benefit of certain shareholders or to the detriment of others.
But Musk has just found a subtle and striking way to respond to the criticism, which has turned violent in recent days. The entrepreneur has just retweeted a chart which shows that of all the major automakers present on the American market, only Tesla and General Motors (GM) – Get Free Report have managed to increase their sales of light vehicles in 2022 compared to 2021. All the rest of the vehicle manufacturers have seen their sales decrease compared to 2021.
Tesla saw its sales increase by 44% over one year while those of GM only increased by 3%.
Musk said nothing else.