Couple's open letter to Elon Musk as it appears in the Palo Alto Daily News

Couple’s open letter to Elon Musk as it appears in the Palo Alto Daily News.

If you can afford to take out a full-page ad in several newspapers to make a request of a CEO, it just might work. Two Tesla owners did so and got a response from that CEO, Elon Musk. In an article for GreenTechMedia, Stephen Lacey writes about Elon Musk’s saying he will make some of the safety and other changes that the two Tesla owners asked him for in their very public notice. Lacey asks: “Would any [other] car executive respond to customer ideas so quickly and openly?” Musk, 43, is the CEO and chief product architect of Tesla Motors, as well as CEO and CTO of SpaceX, and chairman of SolarCity, according to Wikipedia.

Lacey advises readers of his article, “Don’t bother emailing Musk. Just take out a full-page newspaper ad if you want your ideas heard.”

As Paul Szoldra reports for Business Insider, the two people, a married couple from Southold, New York, bought a full-page newspaper ad Friday in the Palo Alto Daily, a Silicon Valley newspaper, requesting improvements in the Tesla Model S. Each spouse owns a Tesla Model S, Szoldra writes. The couple did not reveal their names in their ad.

Specific Requests

In the ad, an “Open Letter to Elon Musk, Automotive Visionary,” the couple say they are “Two VERY highly satisfied Tesla owners.” Their ad asks Musk to consider their request for the car to have monitors and sound sensors that would alert the driver to blind spots, cross-traffic, and objects such as parking space barriers that could hit the car in its front and rear to prevent car accidents, Szoldra writes.

The couple’s ad also requests voice-activated phone dialing; a larger, more convenient touchscreen “spot” for answering cell phone calls; and to have the cup-holder moved forward. In addition, they write that they would like the power-charging cap to automatically close after the power cord is removed, and for the sun visor’s depth to be redesigned to accommodate drivers who are short in stature.

Seen and Noted

Lacey writes that Musk responded Saturday to the couple via Twitter, writing:

Elon Musk's Twitter response to the couple's ad

Elon Musk’s Twitter response to the couple’s ad

A new Tesla costs $71,070, according to Tesla’s website. And in a telephone conversation, Jennifer Belton, sales manager for Palo Alto Daily News (PADN), told this blog that a full-page ad in PADN could run between $600 and $2,000, and that the open letter to Elon Musk cost around $1,000. She noted that this was not the only newspaper in which the couple placed their open letter. They also placed full-page ads in the Mountain View Voice, and Palo Alto Weekly (both weekly papers) to cover all the bases, she said.

Online Suggestions?

In a comment to the Business Insider piece, ianeassonrogerscom writes that the couple should not have had to take out an ad to make suggestions for improvement of the Tesla Model S. He suggests Tesla do what software manufacturers have done and create a website for registered users where owners of the cars can create lists of suggested improvements and people can vote on them. And in a comment to the GreenTechMedia article, a poster named Shiggity suggests that Musk look at, where many of these design suggestions were discussed “long ago and in great detail.”

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