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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.”
First I’ve heard of this. Seems odd.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 10, 2023
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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