There’s a clear difference in how many mainstream media outlets handled Tesla’s software update and Porsche’s upcoming actual recall. Although Tesla’s update was labeled a recall in documents that were shared by @Ray4Tesla, it’s actually an over-the-air software update. In the case of Porsche, Taycan owners will reportedly have to go to the dealerships to get their fix (even though it’s also a software fix).
Porsche NA CEO on global Taycan EV recall: “It’s a software fix so we are inviting all the customers to come to the Porsche center, it will take around 90 minutes, an update of the software & then you’re good to go!” 🤔 $TSLA #Tesla #EV @elonmusk pic.twitter.com/BlhHaqvC1k
— Tesla New York (@TeslaNY) July 1, 2021
In the tweet above, Twitter user, TeslaNY, shared a clip from Squawk Exclusives. In that clip, Porsche’s North America CEO, Kjell Gruner, spoke about the upcoming recall. He pointed out that Porsche’s most important goal is safety and noted that 20 out of 10,000 cars had the problem it was trying to solve. He also said, “It’s a software fix, so we are inviting all the customers to come to the Porsche center. It will take around 90 minutes, an update of the software, and then you’re good to go!”
This is a more serious issue than Tesla’s latest cruise control “recall”, and unlike Tesla Porsche owners will actually have to bring their cars into the dealership to fix it. $TSLA $VWAGY @elonmusk https://t.co/wULl3IKt6H
— Whole Mars Catalog (@WholeMarsBlog) July 1, 2021
Both companies voluntarily made a decision to solve a problem with their products, and in both cases it was a software issue. This is where the comparisons end.
Tesla’s “recall” is a software update like your phone has. Tesla said it would contact its customers through the service center to upgrade their vehicles — and then it’s just a push of a button or two. Ray4Tesla also shared a demonstration as to how Tesla was solving the problem with the update.
In the case of Porsche, the CEO shared that customers will have to come to a Porsche center (aka a dealership) where they wait 90 minutes for the fix. Even if it’s still a software update, this is a much different customer experience, and clearly a difference in technological capability.
Observation On How The Mainstream Media Addressed The Recalls
This is what differentiates Tesla from legacy auto makers: Tesla “massive recall” done in 10-15 minutes in the comfort of your home while Porsche owners have to drive to dealerships to get their software issues fixed, not to mention wasting another 90 mins of their time waiting. https://t.co/TYoSIi2w59
— Ray4Tesla⚡️🚘☀️🔋 (@ray4tesla) July 1, 2021
Keep in mind that this is only an observation and not a bashing of the millions of writers, reporters, and journalists working in the media. Also, keep in mind that I’m referring to an entity that makes money off of headlines, not individuals working for the institution.
Some common headlines referring to Tesla’s “recall” include:
Notice that there is a difference in numbers. I pointed this out when the news first happened. Reuters and Bloomberg had different numbers. Each headline makes you think that Tesla actually recalled these vehicles — that people had to return their cars. This is not the case at all, as we already pointed out.
In an article by Yahoo! Finance, the anchor said, “a big black eye for Tesla today in China after the government ordered almost all Tesla cars there to be fixed to address a safety issue.”
Not only was this not actually a “big black eye,” but she was wrong. Tesla wasn’t ordered to do this. Tesla volunteered to make the software update.
The above headlines include the words “may” or “reportedly,” and clearly define the issue as a software issue or total loss of power. However, the headlines are not as urgent as they are with Tesla. There aren’t any “black eyes” or eye-catching numbers that will quickly grab your attention. It should be noted that there wasn’t a number provided on how many Taycans will be recalled. If this were about Tesla, I think those headlines would read something like this:
Tesla May Recall Thousands Of EVs Due To Sudden Power Loss Issue
Tesla Will Reportedly Recall Most Of Its EVs Due To Safety Problem
The point I’m making is that the media tends to over-exaggerate anything Tesla news-related while other automakers get a pass.
When Tesla has a recall the media makes it sound like the end of the company.
When legacy has a recall the media makes it sound like they are prepping the cars to go to summer camp pic.twitter.com/yGpOCPfBGg
— 🐶Earl of FrunkPuppy🐶 (@28delayslater) July 1, 2021
One Example — Bloomberg
Let’s look at how Bloomberg, which also used the “black eye” term, covered the Tesla software update and the Porsche recall just to add in more context here.
There’s no black eye for Porsche. The headline and article are presented without any emotional triggers. In 2013, Business Insider stated that Bloomberg News pays its reporters more if their stories move markets. Now, I’m not sure if that is still the case — there is a chance they could have stopped — but if it is still the case, then these headlines reflect more than just bias.
I may be a small-time Tesla shareholder and a fan of Elon Musk, but I try to be as fair as possible when covering other EVs or sharing my own opinions and thoughts. It’s really just the right thing to do, morally. It’s why I didn’t create a crazy headline for Porsche’s recall. I emphasized that it was a report, and in that article, I just kept it as unbiased as possible. I did point out how Bloomberg mentioned Tesla and also touched upon an accident involving Porsche’s Taycan EV, but this was just to point out that almost no one else was talking about it.
If that had been a Tesla, every news outlet would have reported on that. In my opinion, the Taycan is a beautiful car and a great way for Porsche to encourage its brand-loyal customers to make the switch to EVs. So, honestly, I hope Porsche is actually able to solve these problems and hopefully one day announce more EVs in the future. For Porsche to do the latter, the Taycan needs to be a continued success.