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Published on December 11th, 2014 | by James Ayre


Did Elon Musk Use BMW For Publicity? Norwegian & German Newspapers Allege So

December 11th, 2014 by  

Originally published on Planetsave.

Update from the editor, Zachary Shahan: For clarity’s sake, we’ve received word from a Tesla representative that better explains what happened. Basically, it seems that, when interviewed by Der Spiegel, Elon provided a straightforward answer to a question that somehow got used by the reporters to seed a lot of speculation, and essentially put extra words in Elon’s mouth. In the end, “what’s been blown way out of context and out of proportion was a single offhand comment,” the Tesla representative states. Elon’s specific quote was reportedly accurate, but the story around it was not. As someone who has been on that side of an article many times in a previous career of mine, I know very well how much reporters can try to squeeze your quote into the broader story they already have in mind or invent along the way. It’s unfortunate this happens at such a high level of the journalism world and results in the counterproductive conversations that ensue.

The Tesla representative adds: “Not only did Elon not ‘talk up a partnership’ with BMW, we actively sought to squash any such rumors the moment they surfaced more than a week ago. Elon respects BMW as a company and we have talked informally about many things, but at no point did he claim there was any partnership or serious discussions.” Good on Elon, this representative who reached out to us, and the Tesla crew as a whole, but at this point, I think any follower of Tesla would have expected such integrity, which is why this story seemed so hilarious in the first place.

Did Elon Musk use “supposed negotiations” with BMW on a possible collaboration involving battery and charging station technologies as a means of free publicity? With Tesla “adorning” itself with the BMW brand for “publicity purposes”?

That’s exactly what a Norwegian newspaper is alleging — that Musk/Tesla lied about a potential collaboration with the German automaker as a means of gaining good press.


That certainly seems a strange allegation, doesn’t it? (Makes me feel like I’m in a divorce court or something.) Well, it gets even weirder, with the paper alleging that the comments are the result of Tesla looking to shore up its public image after Toyota and Mercedes unloaded some of their shares in Tesla.

Lol. If the comments weren’t so humorous, I guess that it might be something that could get someone upset. Perhaps something is being lost in the translation (I don’t speak/read great Norwegian), but this whole thing comes across as a nothing more than a bit of rather unskilled mudslinging. If it was a more skilled attempt at tarnishing the image of Tesla, perhaps some\ offense could be taken — but this? Lol, I had a good belly laugh from this.

So, thank you Hegnar.no. (And a big hat tip to Tesla Motors Club forum member daniel Ox9EFD.)


Here’s a quote (as translated by a computer):

Elon Musk said in an interview that Tesla is in talks with BMW about a collaboration on battery technology and charging stations. The statement puzzles Munich.

According to the German WirtschaftsWoche, there are absolutely no negotiations about a concrete collaboration between BMW and Tesla. BMW has absolutely no interest in buying parts from Tesla, says BMW when WirtschaftsWoche confronts the company with the statements of Elon Musk that Tesla is in talks with BMW about a collaboration on battery technology and charging stations.

Well-informed BMW-sources say, according to the German online magazine, that in this industry practically everyone speaks with everyone, so “informal discussions” with Tesla mean little. It was announced in October that Mercedes and Toyota sold off Tesla. Munich suspects the electric vehicle manufacturer now wants to adorn themselves with the BMW brand and claims that “Musk uses us for publicity purposes.”

Those interested can find the full-article here.

I see that Chris over at GAS2 has also chimed in on this story, referencing the German paper that quoted an “unnamed BMW executive” and got the story rolling.

Image Credit: Tesla Motors 

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About the Author

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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