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Tesla has gone its own way from the get-go. Rather than seeing what other automakers are trying to do and then focusing its time and attention on one-upping them, Tesla forges its own path and leaves everyone else trying to catch up. One example of this is the lack of advertising. Is this a brilliant move by Tesla, or is the electric automaker doing it all wrong?

Where have all the Tesla ads gone?

Tesla doesn’t bother with ads or commercials, according to Statista. In fact, Tesla hasn’t spent a single dollar on advertising in the last year.

Visual Capitalist posted a chart that reveals how much automakers are spending and how much goes into research and development. Ford has spent $468 on advertising per vehicle and invested $1,186 for research and development. Toyota has a similar price range, with $468 spent on advertising and $1,186 and research and development. Tesla has spent nothing on advertising and has put $2,984 into research and development.

So how does this work when a company completely ignores advertising? A lot of it has to do with Elon Musk’s X account. He often lets the world know what’s happening with Tesla, and his social media posts nearly always trend. You could argue that Tesla is getting free advertising every time someone shares one of Musk’s posts.

Then there’s the fact that even though Tesla may not be that into advertising, its drivers are. While they may not buy T-shirts or accessorize their vehicles quite like Jeep fans, Tesla drivers make their passion for the EV automaker known by trolling gas guzzlers on their license plates, for instance.

Tesla is focused on research and development

Every few months, it seems like new information is coming out about something new Tesla is working on. For years, we’ve expected the arrival of the Tesla Cybertruck, and now there’s a rumor that there will be a second, smaller truck added to the already impressive lineup.

There are also frequent over-the-air updates that consumers like. Rather than having to go into a dealership to get your vehicle’s technology updated, it automatically takes place.

Not all of Tesla’s ideas have panned out well, unfortunately. While many people adore the Model X’s falcon wing doors, it’s become a bit of a meme to mock them. Critics also tend to rank the Model X’s reliability ratings as lower than other Tesla models.

Another area of concern is the video streaming services. Some people have voiced concern about Tesla offering video games in its vehicles, and the NHTSA began investigating this in 2021. There were drivers who played while driving, which created dangerous driving conditions.

Despite the failures, this is just a part of research and development. Tesla has shown that it’s gained far more than it’s lost through the lack of advertising. 

Should other automakers follow Tesla’s method?


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It would be a great idea if more automakers did this. Rather than spending money on ads, they should focus on developing an excellent product. 

Critics and consumers alike are slamming automakers for not redesigning their cars for close to a decade at a time, and yet the prices continue to go up. If automakers were to reinvest the money into research and development, then consumers would be more invested in buying. They would also be eager to spread the word about how incredible their new vehicle is, and others would take note.

Still, advertising has been the go-to form of bringing in sales for many years now. Dealerships have been sneaking in advertising charges for some time now, and it’s irksome to buyers. It may take automakers time to realize that there is another way, especially with social media. Once they do, it could increase interest in the automotive industry.