Tesla CEO Elon Musk's decision to host the presidential announcement of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Twitter was marred by technical glitches and relatively few listeners for the audio-only format. Analysts suggested it was bad for DeSantis, bad for Twitter and bad for Musk.
But it may have been good for Tesla.
Musk's widely covered public embrace of DeSantis, a conservative Republican, is part of a larger strategy to better position Tesla in red states where car buyers have been reluctant to consider the EV brand, one longtime industry analyst said. Blue-state California has by far been Tesla's most important market since its founding.
"No matter how altruistic Elon seems at any moment, he is first and foremost a businessman, and he will do things that will benefit him financially first and foremost," said Karl Brauer, executive analyst at iSeeCars and a former analyst at Cox Automotive and Edmunds.
Musk hosted the Twitter political event with DeSantis on May 24. The sound was not working for the first 20 minutes.
With Tesla's growth waning in the U.S., Brauer said, a shift in the brand's image from liberal California to red-state Texas could open an untapped market. In late 2021, Musk moved Tesla's company headquarters to Austin from Silicon Valley.