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Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Irks Norwegians with Misleading Model S Ads

Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Factory Freemont, California

Tesla Motors Inc is a darling in Norway and Norwegians love the firm and its cars. Norway is the firm’s biggest market outside of the U.S. and Elon Musk always acknowledges the patronage of Norwegians at every chance. The Norwegian government provides one of the biggest sales incentives to EVs in order to hasten a transition away from fossil fuels. As expected, Elon Musk gladly supplies its stylish EVs to the country’s many buyers.

Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Model SHowever, that beautiful business relationship between Tesla and Norwegians might go sour over claims that the EV maker misled buyers about the power output of the Model S P85D. The Norwegian Consumer Disputes Commission has ruled that Tesla mislead buyers of Model S P85D about the power output of the car. As punitive measures, the Disputes Commission asked the firm to pay 50,000 Norwegian Krones, (about $6000) to each of complainants.

Did Tesla mislead buyers about its cars?

More than a year ago, some buyers dragged the firm before Norway’s Consumer Council with 150 consumer complaints. The complaints claimed that the advertised power output for the Model S P85D was not the actual output available to buyers. Tesla Motors advertised that the car had a combined motor output of 691 hp (467 in the back and 224 in the front).

However, many of the buyers were surprised that the car could actually deliver 691HP on its wheels. Hence, the complainants were irked by the fact that the Model S P85D wasn’t the same performance workhorse that they thought it was. Nonetheless, the EV maker claimed that it didn’t mislead buyers about the output of the car. In its defense, it noted that the stated output was for the motors that power the car and not for the car itself.

Interestingly, the Consumer Council absolved Tesla of any blame. In fact, some third party tests revealed that the P85D could go faster than the stated 0 to 60 times.  A statement from the firm says “Tesla described the P85D as having a 0-100 kph time of 3.3 seconds, and Motor Trend and others actually achieved a time of 3.1 seconds.”

Norwegians accuse Tesla of deceit

Norwegians are tenacious people and many of the P85D buyers believe that Tesla Motors got off on technical grounds. It is possible that the firm didn’t set out to mislead buyers, but it actually left room for confusion about how the power from the motors translates into actual performance. Now, the Norwegian Consumer Disputes Commission has concluded that the firm misled its buyers.

The Disputes Commission has ruled that the firm should pay $6000 to each of the complainants. More so, there were about 600 P85D owners in Norway as at the time of filing the complaints. The firm says, it “will be reviewing the decision by the Consumer Disputes Commission to better understand the conclusion that it reached.” Paying $6000 each to 150 complainants and 450 other owners is somewhat excessive and the firm will most likely appeal the ruling. Nonetheless, the firm needs to learn how to create marketing pitches that doesn’t mislead buyers about what its cars can do.

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Victor Alagbe is a seasoned business and finance writer with a specialty in writing about how to invest for the long-term in healthcare, pharmacology, energy and tech stocks. His long-term focus is on stocks that provide a nice mix of growth and income. For the short term, he passionately writes about trading stock options for the excitement and leverage that stock options offer.