Tesla has slashed prices five times thus far in 2023, with the most recent cut coming late last week. The electric auto giant hopes to drive demand, even if the move comes at the expense of profitability and the company’s stock price, if Monday’s early returns are any indication. Although the January price cuts were much more significant (up to 20% on given models), the latest cuts reduce some cars’ sticker prices by as little as $1,000 or as much as $5,000. But will these slashes move the needle with car buyers?

Compared to the last time CivicScience reported on Tesla’s favorability in January, it has sunk even further through the end of March. Just 25% of U.S. adults held a favorable opinion of the EV maker last month, which is eight percentage points lower than the favorable mark last March (33%) – and the unfavorability tally has climbed even more significantly (from 17% to 28% over the same time period).

As for the most recent price drops, they don’t appear to be making a huge impact on Americans so far – but a small niche is highly engaged. Six percent of U.S. adults claim they’re ‘very interested’ in buying a Tesla EV following the price cuts (and 24% are at least ‘somewhat interested’), while a majority (76%) claim they’re ‘not at all interested’ in buying one.

Tesla’s price slashes appear to have made the greatest impact on U.S. adults who already own at least one EV (18% of that camp claim they’re ‘very interested’ in buying a Tesla now – well outpacing the Gen Pop). But EV intenders clock well above the Gen Pop in claiming they’re at least ‘somewhat interested’ (41%) in buying a Tesla now, even if they’re less likely than the Gen Pop to express the highest level of interest (4%).

With its ever-slipping grasp on the electric vehicle market share, as EVs become rapidly more commonplace, Tesla might face greater challenges than profitability in the years ahead. According to CivicScience’s latest data, Toyota currently leads intent to purchase among U.S. adults who plan to purchase an EV in the future (32%). Tesla trails it, in a dead heat with Ford (20% and 18%, respectively).

Among Gen Z adults who plan to buy an EV, Tesla just edges out Toyota (28% to 27%) – and Toyota has a much more comfortable lead among the 55+ bracket (26%, with Tesla finishing in second-to-last at 10%).  As more global automakers expand their EV arsenal over the next decade, expect Tesla to further tweak its approach.

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