Elon Musk responds to claims of Tesla selling vehicles on Cars.com

Key Points

  • 🚗 Tesla Listings on Cars.com: Someone noticed new Tesla vehicle listings on Cars.com, prompting Elon Musk’s response expressing unawareness and finding it odd.
  • 💡 Potential Marketing Collaboration: The listings on Cars.com redirect to Tesla’s site, indicating a possible marketing or affiliate arrangement between the two companies.
  • 🌐 Zip Code Easter Egg: All listed Tesla vehicles supposedly came from the “suspicious” zip code 90210, interpreted by some as an Easter Egg, although the authenticity of the listings remains uncertain.
  • 💰 Tesla’s Marketing Strategy: Tesla has previously relied on unconventional marketing strategies, with Musk hinting at minimal ad spends and experimenting before a broader advertising launch.
  • 🔌 Free Supercharging Offer: Tesla announced six months of free Supercharging for Model 3 and Model Y buyers in North America, available with a valid referral link and delivery before December 31.
  • 📈 Tesla’s Sales Targets: Tesla aims for a significant sales target, needing to deliver a substantial number of units this quarter to reach its yearly goal, despite facing challenges like production upgrades and missed delivery estimates in Q3.
  • 🇺🇸 EV Tax Credit Changes: Tesla urges buyers to take delivery before the year’s end to access the full $7,500 federal EV tax credit before anticipated changes in the U.S. government’s tax credit program in 2024.

Elon Musk has responded after one person spotted some seemingly new vehicles being sold by Tesla on Cars.com this week.

On Friday, the auto industry X account CarDealershipGuy posted that Tesla had “quietly started listing *new* vehicles” on Cars.com, noting that the automaker hadn’t before sold vehicles beyond its own website. Musk responded to the claim by saying he hadn’t heard about such a decision from Tesla, and he went on to add that it “seems odd.”

Notably, the listings on Cars.com lead directly to Tesla’s website when clicked, and some pointed out that this could be an advertising, marketing or affiliate arrangement of some sort between the two companies. CarDealershipGuy himself pointed this out amidst ongoing discussions about how much Tesla should invest in ads and educating the public.

In addition, some pointed out that all of the listed Tesla vehicles were said to be delivered from the “suspicious” zip code 90210. CarDealershipGuy says that it simply represents an Easter Egg from the automaker, and he also notes in his original post that he is an investor in Cars.com.

It’s not out of the question that Tesla would take this step as part of its early advertising efforts, especially as the company has been experimenting with its approach to advertising over the last few months. Still, Musk calling the claims odd seems like a somewhat clear indicator that this is abnormal and perhaps not planned for — at least to the knowledge of the automaker’s top executive.

However, Tesla and Musk have used X as marketing for the company’s products in the past when the company was spending $0 on advertising.  Tesla announced plans to begin advertising earlier this year, along with a video from the company about its overall marketing strategy. Last month, Musk reiterated plans to start advertising “at small scale” before launching broader ad efforts upon learning what works best.

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