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 we call him at Tesla (TSLA) – Get a free report, likes to turn his opponents’ attacks into counter-attacks. The serial entrepreneur is never so lethal as when he is on defense.
These adversaries, he knows them. He knows their angles of attack. Certainly some of these criticisms irritate him, but he always finds the line of response to repel the detractors.
He can also rely on his legion of fans, many of whom are hardcore Tesla fans. They believe in its promises to transform 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 retail investors
But what he never expected was that some of those fans would come after him. He therefore never prepared for it because he always counted on their loyalty to him. Turns out Musk was wrong.
For several weeks, the CEO of Tesla has been the target of repeated criticism from some retail investors. Investor Leo KuGuan, who is the automaker’s third largest individual shareholder after Musk and Oracle (ORCL) – Get a free report co-founder Larry Ellison, went so far as to sound a revolt against Musk.
“I’m 100% into Tesla because I believe in Elon Musk and Tesla,” KoGuan wrote on Twitter on January 7. “But he kills SH and Tesla. If I knew I wouldn’t invest in Tesla.”
“Elon invested ≈ $200 million but withdrew $40 billion, Larry invested $1 billion, I invested over $3 billion, I have no choice but to act and express myself. I’m crying out for help!”
The criticisms of these investors are the consequence of the stock market rout of Tesla. In 2022, Tesla stock lost 65% of its value, translating to over $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. In the first four trading sessions of 2023, Tesla shares were down 8.2% to 113, $06.
While Musk attributes this stock market disaster to macro factors such as the Federal Reserve aggressively raising interest rates to fight inflation and the energy crisis in Europe, many Tesla shareholders believe his acquisition of Twitter to $44 billion is the big deal.
They claim that when Musk set his sights on the social media platform, he completely left Tesla behind. Worse still, he has alienated many Tesla buyers by regularly attacking progressives and democrats on Twitter.
Tesla outperforms its rivals
Retail investors together own 41.9% of Tesla shares as of Dec. 5, according to WallStreetZen. Institutional investors hold the largest block with 43.01% of the shares. The balance is held by the managers of the company, ie 15%.
While Musk already responded to some criticism a while back, he’s been quiet lately. This is no doubt due to the fact that he must respect the silence period until the publication of the company’s results on January 25th. Until that date, the management team must 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 impactful way to respond to the criticism, which has turned violent in recent days. The entrepreneur just retweeted a chart that shows that of all the major automakers in the U.S. market, only Tesla and General Motors (GM) – Get a free report managed to increase their light vehicle sales in 2022 compared to 2021. All other automakers saw their sales decrease compared to 2021.
Tesla saw its sales increase by 44% over one year while those of GM increased by only 3%.
Musk said nothing else.