Bob Perkowitz was one of the first 1000 people to reserve a Model S. He took delivery of the same car in 2012 and had an upgrade to the same car in 2017:

He was going to purchase a new model. Things didn't go off the rails.

Many owners of the brand are rethinking their loyalty due to Musk's increasingly erratic and divisive online persona. In the last few months, the persona on display to his 125 million followers has shifted from that of the occasionally irreverent, visionaryentrepreneur to something more political.

Tesla owners say Musk's antics are becoming too much

According to Perkowitz, he hasn't bought a new car because of Musk's right-wing views and his emphasis on free speech.

He told Insider that Elon was a good reason to buy the car. He had a good reputation. He's no longer a great brand.

A Tesla Model X with its doors open.
John Byrne, a software CEO, told Insider he traded in his Model X for an Audi RS E-Tron GT after Musk's outbursts.
REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo

When Alan Lasoff's term ends he won't be getting a Model Y SUV. The decision was boiled down to what he saw as the billionaire's hypocrisy and amplification of conspiracy theories.

On the eve of the election, he said you should vote for Republicans because he wanted it to be a political site. He can have his opinion but I don't like it.

John was not a big fan of the 2020 Model X SUV. He said it was creaky, vibrated at times, and was of an overall build quality that didn't justify its price.

The final straw was Musk's attacks on Anthony Fauci and the right-wing views he broadcasted on his social media accounts. He traded in his old car for an electric one.

I don't want to be a brand ambassador for them.

The company did not reply to the request for comment.

Musk may be attracting conservatives to the brand

Studies support the anecdotes. Morning Consult found that the net favorability rating for Democrats fell between October and November. Favorability improved for Republicans.

Tesla Model Y crossover
Tesla's share price dropped 65% in 2022.

Consumers are more likely to react poorly to a car company being controversial than other types of business, according to a brand expert. A car is a long-term purchase that represents the owner to the outside world.

The five figure outlay will make someone think harder about whom they're enriching and whether they agree with their views.

At a trying time for the company, some fans have begun to turn around.

The company is facing a lot of questions about if consumer demand is waning after years of flying off the shelves. Concerns about Musk's preoccupation with social media and slowing sales growth caused the stock price to plummet.

Sam Fiorani, vice president of global vehicle forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions, told Insider thatTesla is dealing with an aging product line while it faces a lot of competition.

It's not clear if Musk's comments will have a significant impact on the company's sales in the future. If Musk sells lots of conservatives on his cars, things could balance out. The only thing Musk has to do is tone things down.

Perkowitz concurs. He's looking at the Ioniq 5 and Polestar 2 as electric alternatives, but he's hoping that he will be able to buy a Model S in good conscience.

"I've been waiting for him to say something that makes sense and that's what I've been waiting for." I will drive the Polestar if he doesn't do it soon.

Do you own or work for a company that has a story to tell? Are you a fan or critic of your EV? The reporter can be contacted at tlevin@insider.