Over the past few weeks there has been much concern over Tesla Model S catching fire after running over metal debris. The company has been under a lot of media scrutiny as a result and many are asking the question of “How safe is this car?” My personal opinion is that if you were to run over metal debris in any other car that is low enough, there would be an equal chance of it catching fire. Then there are those that are of the firm belief that by virtue of the car’s electric engine, it somehow has a higher chance of catching fire and thus poses a greater risk of harm to those operating the vehicles. All the while, the Model S has topped the owner satisfaction survey from Consumer Reports. (See article here)
I was curious to see how Google search interest in Tesla and the Model S were affected by the recent negative press. Searches did spike during the press release of the fire breakout, but were nowhere near the volume during the time in which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rated the Model S “…the highest safety rating ever for any car tested…” (See Wall Street Journal Article here)
The negative press has suppressed the stock price from a high of $194 to it’s current share price of $122, or roughly 37%. Despite this, the company continues to grow revenue at break neck speeds and as far as Tesla’s public perception goes, I think there are a lot more people focused on the positives vs negatives as indicated not only by the overall up trending search volume for the terms Tesla and the Model S, but also by the fact that the spike in searches were much more significant during good news than bad. This isn’t to say that the share price won’t fall further, as there may be some additional selling pressure, but it does provide the comfort needed to purchase the stock come the time that the share price confirms a reversal.