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...Dennis Levitt got his first Tesla, a blue Model S, in 2013, and loved it. "It was so much better than any car I've ever driven," the 73-year-old self-storage company executive says.
He bought into the brand as well as Elon Musk, Tesla Inc.'s charismatic chief executive officer, purchasing another Model S the following year and driving the first one across the country. In 2016, he stood in line at a showroom near his suburban Los Angeles home to be one of the first to order two Model 3s -- one for himself, the other for his wife.
"I was a total Musk fanboy," Levitt says.
Was, because while Levitt still loves his Teslas, he's soured on Musk. "Over time, his public statements have really come to bother me," Levitt said, citing the CEO's spats with U.S. President Joe Biden, among others. "He acts like a 7-year-old."
Before it was reported Musk had an affair with Sergey Brin's wife, which he's denied; before his slipshod deal, then no-deal, to acquire Twitter Inc.; before the revelation he fathered twins with an executive at his brain-interface startup Neuralink; before SpaceX fired employees who called him "a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment"; before his daughter changed her name and legal gender after his history of mocking pronouns; before an article said SpaceX paid an employee $250,000 to settle a claim he sexually harassed her, allegations he's called untrue; Musk's behavior was putting off prospective customers and perturbing some Tesla owners.
The trends have shown up in one consumer survey and market research report after another: Tesla commands high brand awareness, consideration and loyalty, and customers are mostly delighted by its cars. Musk's antics, on the other hand? They could do without....