A closed-door seminar in Tesla China was opened in vain?

Tesla China is entering the process of brand rebuilding, trying to repair the damaged corporate image since the Shanghai Auto Show.

Sina Technology learned exclusively that on the first weekend of June, Tesla China organized a closed-door expert seminar in the Beijing China Central Place Office to discuss Tesla’s reputation restoration and brand communication under the new development pattern. The participants of the conference are industry experts, academics and some media practitioners.

The organizer of this seminar was interviewed by the media after the Shanghai Auto Show “car roof rights protection” incident. It was the same person who accused the party of “someone behind”—Tao Lin, vice president of external affairs at Tesla, who was believed to be her. One of the actions to solve the damage to Tesla’s Chinese brand. Sina Technology also learned that in addition to Beijing, Tesla China also plans to organize a seminar with the same content in Shanghai.

However, in the recent large-scale recall, Tesla China has played a word game again. While continuing to blame the driver for the problem, it continues to seize the opportunity to establish its own image of protecting consumers.

With such an attitude, what about brand rebuilding?

“Brand damage, someone should be responsible”

This is almost the mainstream voice in Tesla China-before this seminar, whether in China or in the investigation of relevant agencies in the United States, there has never been conclusive evidence that Tesla vehicles have design flaws that cause brake failure; On the other hand, if the brand is still damaged, someone should stand up for it.

Henan Anyang car advocated the women’s rights defense actions at the Shanghai Auto Show, which infinitely brought Tesla closer to the “brake failure”. The interview Tao Lin accepted after the incident that day alienated Tesla infinitely away from users.

Tao Lin claimed, “We cannot agree to her request because the request is unreasonable. We have proposed many solutions, and we definitely need to be approved by our customers, but if it is an unreasonable request, we cannot meet it. She does not accept vehicle inspections and must insist on high compensation. We have no reason to (satisfy). I think she is also very professional, and there should be (people) behind her.”

“Such remarks are in line with Tao Lin’s own personality, Tesla China’s position, and follow the styles of Musk and Tesla. However, from the perspective of consumers, it is obviously unacceptable. Many people naturally put themselves in thinking, Wan One day I will encounter such a situation, will I be treated like this.” In the long period after the “car roof rights protection” storm, with the internal changes of Tesla China, many Teslas All employees express this view.

Especially on the sales side, sales staff are feeling increasing pressure from consumers. “When many customers enter the store, they will immediately ask about the brake failure and Tao Lin’s remarks, expressing doubts about the safety of the vehicle.” During the visit of Sina Technology, a number of Tesla sales staff said.

Salespeople who are on the front line directly facing consumers feel different pressures at different times. For example, in 2020, the Chinese-made Tesla Model 3 long battery life version was suddenly withdrawn, and sales were accused of concealing this information; on October 1, 2020, the Chinese-made Tesla Model 3 standard battery life version suddenly dropped in price, and the salesperson was caught by consumers. Questioned “cutting leeks.”

If faced with the torture of price cuts, the sales staff should have sufficient experience and rhetoric. And this new situation obviously needs them to spend more time to digest.

“There are some voices who have great opinions on Tao Lin, and I hope she can take responsibility. Many sales hope that Tao Lin will reduce or even stop speaking out.” A Tesla insider told Sina Technology that sales were negatively affected by the brand. Departments with greater influence naturally also have the greatest opinions.

河南安阳特斯拉车主张女士的事故车辆 Anyang, Henan Tesla car advocates the accident vehicle of the lady

Starting from April 28th, Tao Lin suspended her personal Weibo updates. This is not common for many people who follow her, because Tao Lin personally responds to Weibo private messages in the middle of the night. Under normal circumstances, Tao Lin will keep Weibo daily, and even publish multiple Weibo content every day.

In addition, Tao Lin personally organized a closed-door seminar on reporting at the China Central Place in Beijing, mainly discussing Tesla’s reputation challenges in China, effective paths for reputation restoration, and Tesla’s image building in China, etc. problem.

It was not until June 17th that Tao Lin resumed her personal Weibo update. “Tao Lin’s character will not stop.” An early Tesla China employee who has worked with Tao Lin for many years said that her character and position are sufficient to reflect Musk’s will, but for Tesla China It’s not a good thing-to safeguard the interests of the company and express a standpoint, but it is not welcomed by people and even easily disgusted.

Tao Lin was first in charge of government relations in Tesla China. After she was promoted to Tesla’s vice president of external affairs, in addition to her previous government relations, Tao Lin was also responsible for marketing and public relations.

Earlier, Tao Lin said in an internal training that some young people who have just graduated from the government relations department cannot get in touch with high-level leaders when they are in contact with government departments, and they can only meet with the directors of some departments. But when there are real problems that need to be solved, Tesla’s senior management should be used well, and people who can make the decision should be found to move forward quickly.

In daily official receptions, Tao Lin and others have directly ignored those “people who can’t make a decision.” The staff of a certain department in Shanghai once complained that during the routine inspection of the Shanghai Super Factory, Tao Lin and others were very arrogant in the reception process.

“Tao Lin even directly called a senior media person who was very active on Weibo at six o’clock in the morning on the weekend and asked the latter to delete content that was unfavorable to Tesla. The content was quite objective, but She doesn’t feel very good.” A former colleague of Tao Lin told Sina Technology.

Treat your employees and colleagues the same way. Whether it is refusing to take time off for the bereavement of a subordinate who has lost a close relative, or claiming at public events that “Tesla has no difference between a man and a woman, only those who have completed the work and those who have not completed the work.” It portrays a person who has no emotions but only love. Work, but behind it is full of arrogant and impersonal executives of multinational technology companies.

“Arrogance” is also more like the inertia of Tesla China. It not only blames the vehicle accident on the improper driving of the car owner, but also pushes the problem to its partners. At the end of January 2021, a new Tesla owner in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province was charging at Tesla’s own charging station and suddenly encountered a power failure and unable to start. Tesla after-sales stated that this was caused by the excessive current of the National Grid, but the result was Come to the strong response of State Grid.

“Tesla China is really very arrogant. Under the established national power rules, they did not reflect on whether their charging pile products had problems, but instead passed the responsibility to the State Grid. The fact that they apologized also just proved how they did it in the first place. Arrogance.” An employee of the State Grid said when referring to this matter.

When Sina Technology recently visited a Tesla store in Beijing, it was discovered that in response to the crash of Ms. Zhang in Anyang, Henan and the out-of-control fatal incident in Shaoguan, Guangdong, Tesla sales staff claimed that the cause of the accident was “Speeding”, the external rhetoric is very unified.

Declining sales and large-scale recalls

According to the latest data from the Travel Federation, Tesla China’s wholesale sales in May were 33,463 vehicles, of which, Tesla China exported 11,527 vehicles and domestic sales were 21,936 vehicles. From January to April 2021, Tesla’s total sales in China were 15,484, 18,318, 35,478, and 25,845.

From this point of view, after the “car roof rights protection” incident in April, Tesla’s sales in China have resumed growth and have not been negatively affected by public opinion. But one of the details that cannot be ignored is that in May, Tesla’s sales of China’s best-selling model China-made Model 3 were only 9,208, a year-on-year decrease of 17%.

Many people in the automotive industry said that the current data changes do not clearly show that the negative public opinion has an impact on Tesla’s sales in China, because the current data sample is not sufficiently rich.

During the visit of Sina Technology, many sales staff told Sina Technology that, on average, the current sales volume has not changed much compared with the past. “If you don’t believe me, you can take a look at the data released by the Federation. There has been an increase in May and April. The sales volume of our stores fluctuates for a short period of time, but in general there is little change. Some people still sell. Got more.” A salesperson at a Beijing store told Sina Technology.

The salesperson said that at present, many consumers will ask whether Tesla has brake failure when they come to the store. This is also one of the biggest difficulties facing sales. “We are not afraid of those who watch the news more, but are afraid of consumers who are keen to watch short videos, because the information they are exposed to does not reflect the whole thing.” He said.

But not everyone is biased against Tesla’s vehicles. Sina Technology learned that after the Shanghai “car roof rights protection” incident, many people still chose to buy Tesla. One of the new owners told Sina Technology, “Because the price is really cheap, it is worthy of this appearance.” But there is also a part. Consumers choose to stay on the sidelines.

This is also a group that Tesla sales staff are striving for, and Tesla China, which is impacting quarterly deliveries, is also adopting a more proactive sales strategy.

Sina Technology has received feedback from many consumers. Since April, Tesla’s sales staff have made calls to invite stores and test drives more frequently than in previous periods. “I often call every 3 to 5 days, or ask on WeChat if I have time to go to the store and test drive.” One of the users who visited the store on the same day as Sina Technology told Sina Technology that he is also currently holding money on the sidelines. stage.

In addition, Tesla China’s recent promotional impulse methods have broken Tesla’s routine. In addition to interest rate concessions, Tesla China directly gives consumers an insurance subsidy of 7,000 yuan (USD $1000) , which is equivalent to a disguised price cut. “This event is only until June 30, and it is also a way to rush the quarterly delivery.” One of the sales staff told Sina Technology that this was an event launched in mid-June, mainly to impact the second quarter’s delivery.

“The factory’s current production is relatively smooth, but it was suspended for two weeks in April, which caused many orders to be delayed. At that time, the delivery cycle was extended from 2-4 weeks to 5-7 weeks, and many orders were delayed until May. Delivery, this may be the reason why a relatively high delivery volume can still be guaranteed in May. For details, you can look at June and July, or even August.” A Tesla employee told Sina Technology.

But at the moment, Tesla China has to face another incident-the largest recall in the history of Tesla in China. On June 26, according to the information on the official website of the State Administration for Market Regulation, Tesla (Beijing) and Tesla (Shanghai) filed a recall of a total of 285,520 vehicles with the State Administration for Market Regulation in accordance with the requirements of relevant regulations due to the sudden acceleration caused by the problem of the active cruise control system. The production year is between 2019 and 2021.

But this time the recall, Tesla China’s arrogance still flows between the lines. In the apology announcement, Tesla China continued to blame the driver for the problem, claiming that “because the main cruise control function may be activated by the driver, there are potential safety hazards in extreme cases.” At the same time, it has established itself as a brand that cares about consumers. Said that the recall is “adhering to a responsible attitude to consumers, and proactively filed a recall plan with the State Administration of Market Supervision.”

However, the announcement of the General Administration of Market Supervision revealed that Tesla’s recall of the record was carried out when the General Administration initiated a defect investigation. Affected by the investigation, Tesla decided to recall to eliminate potential safety hazards.

From the word game recalled this time, it can be seen that the closed-door seminar organized by Tao Lin may not have gained any enlightenment from Tesla China.