Here's Why Tesla's Elon Musk Emphasizes An "Engineer-First" Approach

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Posted on EVANNEX on April 18, 2022, by Zachary Visconti

Tesla’s engineering is one of Founder and CEO Elon Musk’s main objectives for the company, and the benefits the automaker has experienced as a result are multi-faceted. For Tesla, engineering runs deep into research and development testing, which helps the company determine what designs work and don’t work. 

Compared to legacy automakers, Tesla spends far more per vehicle on research and development costs, rather than spending money on public relations, marketing or advertising, according to The Motley Fool.

Tesla spent an average of $2,984 on R&D per car produced in 2020, spending exactly $0 on advertising with each vehicle.

Comparatively, automakers Ford, Toyota, General Motors (GM) and the Stellantis-owned Chrysler all spent a considerable amount more on advertising per car sold, and considerably less than Tesla on R&D per car sold.

Chrysler spent the most on advertising at $664 per car sold, followed by Ford ($468), Toyota ($454) and lastly, GM ($394). Alternatively, Chrysler spent the least on R&D per car sold at just $784, while GM, Toyota and Ford spent $878, $1,063 and $1,186 for each car, respectively.

Tesla focuses primarily on making cars full of useful and well-tested features, relying heavily on engineering and word of mouth to market the automaker’s designs — rather than traditional marketing tactics, dealerships or other steps taken by most legacy automakers.

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