During todays Q4 earnings call with investors, CEO Elon Musk admitted as much, saying At first we saw a significant drop in demand, and we were quite worried about it. The trouble started last year, when Tesla was caught in an unlucky streak involving several high-profile Model S incidents. Throughout the ordeal, no drivers were ever seriously injured, and Musk staunchly defended the safety of Teslas prized EV — especially when compared to regular gasoline-powered cars. At the time, he accused some in the media of seeking to make a sensation out of something that a simple Google search would reveal to be false. Tesla did all it could to assuage car buyers; In the absence of social media, Im not sure we wouldve been able to correct this perception.