Tesla Model 3 Awarded 2019 Car Of The Year By UK’s Auto Express — Reflections On UK Media Coverage

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The Tesla Model 3 has won the 2019 “Car of the Year” award from the UK’s Auto Express. They call the Tesla Model 3’s performance and range “Brilliant.” The same sentiment is shared across much of the UK’s media. Why so different from US media reporting about Tesla?

Image courtesy Tesla

Auto Express is one of the UK’s leading weekly motoring magazines, with both a strong print and web presence. In its recent reviews and in the award announcement, here are some of the things Auto Express have said about the Tesla Model 3:

“Incredible agility… the car’s dynamics and ability will genuinely surprise you. … It grips and grips”

“The acceleration is an intoxicating and enjoyable experience that puts much more expensive performance machinery to shame.”

“The slightest tickle of the throttle from any speed – especially standstill – will shove you back into your seat with a ferocity to rival the fiercest rollercoaster, with a fun factor to match.”

The magazine also notes that Tesla Autopilot is “the most intuitive autonomous technology you can currently get in a car.” In sum, Auto Express says that the Tesla Model 3 is “just about the coolest car you can buy right now.” Given all of these superlatives, it’s not a great surprise that the Model 3 was their 2019 Car of the Year winner.

Hugely Positive Media Reviews Across The UK

Auto Express is by no means the only UK media outlet heaping praise on the Tesla Model 3 — many other UK media outlets, automotive and otherwise, have also been raving about the Model 3. We recently saw Top Gear‘s review saying that:

“The Model 3 really does feel like a turning point. … It’s a big moment in the history of the motor car … the electric future is happening right now.”

After the review, Top Gear host Chris Harris was so impressed that he tweeted that he thinks he’ll “be buying a Model 3 quite soon.”

In a similar tone, Auto Trader said:

“Excellent on a number of levels, and nothing short of brilliant on others. … Fast, fabulous to drive and financially sensible, yet it’s also practical enough for a family, and still has an image that’s hugely desirable. It’s the Tesla for the masses, and be prepared to see masses of them.”

Perhaps most bluntly, the Express newspaper said:

“The problem with driving the Model 3, even for a short while, is that you’ll immediately want to own one. This is now the new car to beat, electric, petrol or otherwise.”

Very positive video reviews also came in from both Car Magazine and What Car.

Screenshot of Tesla Autonomy Day presentation, via Tesla.

Why is US Media so Anti-EVs and Anti-Tesla?

This clear positivity about the Tesla Model 3 from many of the mainstream media outlets in the UK is in stark contrast with the large amounts of negative media sentiment around Tesla in the US. Why is there such a notable difference in sentiment? Is the UK media being paid off by Tesla to write positive reviews…? Or is the positivity actually more representative of a neutral, objective standpoint?

If all of this widespread positivity in the UK actually just a natural result of the actual outstanding qualities of the vehicles, we’d expect there to be overwhelming demand for, and sales of, the Tesla Model 3, not just in the UK, but in other markets around the world. This is precisely what we are seeing, with the Model 3 being the best selling vehicle — of any type — in several European countries in recent months.

Why, then, are so many media outlets in the US spinning negative myths, claiming there is no demand for these vehicles, and attacking Tesla (and EVs in general)? Could it be something to do with incumbent capital — most notably in this case, fossil fuel interests — having an unhealthy sway over the media and cultural landscape in the US? Or some other reason? Please share your thoughts about the difference and possible reasons, in the comments.

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Dr. Maximilian Holland

Max is an anthropologist, social theorist and international political economist, trying to ask questions and encourage critical thinking. He has lived and worked in Europe and Asia, and is currently based in Barcelona. Find Max's book on social theory, follow Max on twitter @Dr_Maximilian and at MaximilianHolland.com, or contact him via LinkedIn.

Dr. Maximilian Holland has 412 posts and counting. See all posts by Dr. Maximilian Holland